In vitro repair of synthetic ionizing radiation-induced multiply damaged DNA sites

Lynn Harrison, Zafer Hatahet, Susan S. Wallace

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

149 Scopus citations


When ionizing radiation traverses a DNA molecule, a combination of two or more base damages, sites of base loss or single strand breaks can be produced within 1-4 nm on opposite DNA strands, forming a multiply damaged site (MDS). In this study, we reconstituted the base excision repair system to examine the processing of a simple MDS containing the base damage, 8-oxoguanine (8-oxoG), or an abasic (AP) site, situated in close opposition to a single strand break, and asked if a double strand break could be formed. The single strand break, a nucleotide gap containing 3' and 5' phosphate groups, was positioned one, three or six nucleotides 5' or 3' to the damage in the complementary DNA strand. Escherichia coli formamidopyrimidine DNA glycosylase (Fpg), which recognizes both 8-oxoG and AP sites, was able to cleave the 8-oxoG or AP site-containing strand when the strand break was positioned three or six nucleotides away 5' or 3' on the opposing strand. When the strand break was positioned one nucleotide away, the target lesion was a poor substrate for Fpg. Binding studies using a reduced AP (rAP) site in the strand opposite the gap, indicated that Fpg binding was greatly inhibited when the gap was one nucleotide 5' or 3' to the rAP site. To complete the repair of the MDS containing 8-oxoG opposite a single strand break, endonuclease IV DNA polymerase I and Escherichia coli DNA ligase are required to remove 3' phosphate termini, insert the 'missing' nucleotide, and ligate the nicks, respectively. In the absence of Fpg, repair of the single strand break by endonuclease IV, DNA polymerase I and DNA ligase occurred and was not greatly affected by the 8-oxoG on the opposite strand. However, the DNA strand containing the single strand break was not ligated if Fpg was present and removed the opposing 8-oxoG. Examination of the complete repair reaction products from this reaction following electrophoresis through a non-denaturing gel, indicated that a double strand break was produced. Repair of the single strand break did occur in the presence of Fpg if the gap was one nucleotide away. Hence, in the in vitro reconstituted system, repair of the MDS did not occur prior to cleavage of the 8-oxoG by Fpg if the opposing single strand break was situated three or six nucleotides away, converting these otherwise repairable lesions into a potentially lethal double strand break.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)667-684
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Molecular Biology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 1 1999

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Molecular Biology
  • Biophysics
  • Structural Biology


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