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Bioessays. 1995 Aug;17(8):713-9.

Structure and function of apurinic/apyrimidinic endonucleases.

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Imperial Cancer Research Fund Laboratories, University of Oxford, John Radcliffe Hospital, UK.


The DNA of all species is constantly under threat from both endogenous and exogenous factors, which damage its chemical structure. Probably the most common lesion that arises in cellular DNA is the loss of a base to generate an abasic site, which is usually referred to as an apurinic or apyrimidinic (AP) site. Since these lesions are potentially both cytotoxic and mutagenic, cells of all organisms express dedicated repair enzymes, termed AP endonucleases, to counteract their damaging effects. Indeed, many organisms consider it necessary to express two or more of these lesion-specific endonucleases, underscoring the requirement that exists to remove AP sites for the maintenance of genome integrity and cell viability. Most AP endonucleases are very versatile enzymes, capable of performing numerous additional repair roles. In this article, we review the AP endonuclease class of repair enzymes, with emphasis on the evolutionary conservation of structural features, not only between prokaryotic and eukaryotic homologues, but also between these enzymes and the RNase H domain of one class of reverse transcriptase.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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