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Biochim Biophys Acta. 1991 Feb 16;1088(2):197-207.

Isolation and characterization of a human cDNA encoding uracil-DNA glycosylase.

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Department of Molecular Biology, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, School of Osteopathic Medicine, Stratford 08084.


DNA repair of genetic information is an essential defense mechanism, which protects cells against mutation and transformation. The biochemistry of human DNA repair is in its beginning stages. Our research has concentrated on the enzymes involved in the removal of atypical bases from DNA. We present information on the identification and characterization of a cDNA isolate encoding uracil-DNA glycosylase. Uracil-DNA glycosylase was purified to homogeneity from HeLa S3 cells and used to generate polyclonal antibodies. These antibodies were in turn used to isolate a uracil-DNA glycosylase specific cDNA from a human T cell (Jurkat) lambda-gt11 library. The identity of this 1.25 kb cDNA was verified using in vitro transcription and translation systems to generate specific uracil-DNA glycosylase activity. Sequence data revealed a 327 amino acid open reading frame, which encodes a protein with a predicted molecular weight of 35351. No significant amino acid homology was found between this human uracil-DNA glycosylase and the glycosylases of yeast, Escherichia coli, herpes simplex virus, or a recently identified 26,000 Da species of human uracil-DNA glycosylase. This apparent lack of homology prompted an investigation of uracil-DNA glycosylase in a variety of eukaryotic species. Western analysis demonstrated the presence of a 36 kDa uracil-DNA glycosylase protein in human fibroblast, human placental and Vero cell extracts. Interestingly, these antibodies did not detect glycosylase protein in Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) or mouse NIH3T3 fibroblast cells. Under conditions of reduced stringency, Southern blot analysis of BamHI digested DNA from human fibroblasts, human placental cells and Vero cells revealed common 12 kb and 3 kb fragments. In contrast, using the same reduced stringency protocol, 6 and 8 kb fragments for CHO and NIH3T3 DNA were seen, respectively, as well as a common 3 kb fragment. Under more stringent wash conditions, the common 3 kb band was absent in all samples analyzed, and no hybridization signal was detected from DNA of hamster or mouse origin. The lack of immunological reactivity between the human uracil-DNA glycosylase and the rodent forms is therefore reflected at the genetic level as well. This distinction in human and CHO hybridization patterns enabled us to localize this human uracil-DNA glycosylase cDNA to chromosome 5 by somatic cell hybridization.

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