Human SMUG1 (hSMUG1) hydrolyzes the N-glycosidic bond of uracil and some uracil lesions formed in the course of epigenetic regulation. Despite the functional importance of hSMUG1 in the DNA repair pathway, the damage recognition mechanism has been elusive to date. In the present study, our objective was to build a model structure of the enzyme–DNA complex of wild-type hSMUG1 and several hSMUG1 mutants containing substitution F98W, H239A, or R243A. Enzymatic activity of these mutant enzymes was examined by polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis analysis of the reaction product formation and pre-steady-state analysis of DNA conformational changes during enzyme–DNA complex formation. It was shown that substitutions F98W and H239A disrupt specific contacts generated by the respective wild-type residues, namely stacking with a flipped out Ura base in the damaged base-binding pocket or electrostatic interactions with DNA in cases of Phe98 and His239, respectively. A loss of the Arg side chain in the case of R243A reduced the rate of DNA bending and increased the enzyme turnover rate, indicating facilitation of the product release step.