Requirements for DNA bubble structure for efficient cleavage by helix-two-turn-helix DNA glycosylases

Kristina A. Makasheva, Anton V. Endutkin, Dmitry O. Zharkov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Oxidative DNA lesions, constantly generated by both endogenous and environmentally induced reactive oxygen species, are removed via the base excision repair pathway. In bacteria, Fpg and Nei DNA glycosylases, belonging to the helix-two-turn-helix (H2TH) structural superfamily, remove oxidised purines and pyrimidines, respectively. Interestingly, the human H2TH family glycosylases, NEIL1, NEIL2 and NEIL3, have been reported to prefer oxidative lesions in DNA bubbles or single-stranded DNA. It had been hypothesised that NEIL2 might be involved in the repair of lesions in transcription bubbles; however, bubble-like structures may appear in other cellular contexts such as displacement loops (D-loops) associated with transcription, recombination or telomere maintenance. The activities of bacterial Fpg and Nei on bubble substrates were not addressed. Also, it is not known whether H2TH enzymes process bubbles containing the third DNA or RNA strand, and how the bubble length and position of the lesion within a bubble affect the excision. We have investigated the removal of 8-oxoguanine (8-oxoG) and 5,6-dihydrouracil (DHU) by Escherichia coli Fpg and Nei and human NEIL1 and NEIL2 from single-strand oligonucleotides, perfect duplexes, bubbles with different numbers of unpaired bases (6-30), bubbles containing the lesion in different positions and D-loops with the third strand made of DNA or RNA. Fpg, NEIL1 and NEIL2 efficiently excised lesions located within bubbles, with NEIL1 and NEIL2 being specific for DHU, and Fpg removing both 8-oxoG and DHU. Nei, in contrast, was significantly active only on DHU located in double-stranded DNA. Fpg and NEIL1 also tolerated the presence of the third strand of either DNA or RNA in D-loops if the lesion was in the single-stranded part, and Fpg, Nei and NEIL1 excised lesions from the double-stranded DNA part of D-loops. The presence of an additional unpaired 5'-tail of DNA or RNA did not affect the activity. No significant position preference for lesions in a 12-mer bubble was found. Overall, the activities of Fpg, NEIL1 and NEIL2 on these non-canonical substrates are consistent with the possibility that these enzymes may participate in the repair in structures arising during transcription or homologous recombination.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)119-128
Number of pages10
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2020


  • NEIL1

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