Redox signaling between DNA repair proteins for efficient lesion detection

Amie K. Boal, Joseph C. Genereux, Pamela A. Sontz, Jeffrey A. Gralnick, Dianne K. Newman, Jacqueline K. Barton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

95 Scopus citations


Base excision repair (BER) enzymes maintain the integrity of the genome, and in humans, BER mutations are associated with cancer. Given the remarkable sensitivity of DNA-mediated charge transport (CT) to mismatched and damaged base pairs, we have proposed that DNA repair glycosylases (EndoIII and MutY) containing a redox-active [4Fe4S] cluster could use DNA CT in signaling one another to search cooperatively for damage in the genome. Here, we examine this model, where we estimate that electron transfers over a few hundred base pairs are sufficient for rapid interrogation of the full genome. Using atomic force microscopy, we found a redistribution of repair proteins onto DNA strands containing a single base mismatch, consistent with our model for CT scanning. We also demonstrated in Escherichia coli a cooperativity between EndoIII and MutY that is predicted by the CT scanning model. This relationship does not require the enzymatic activity of the glycosylase. Y82A EndoIII, a mutation that renders the protein deficient in DNA-mediated CT, however, inhibits cooperativity between MutY and EndoIII. These results illustrate how repair proteins might efficiently locate DNA lesions and point to a biological role for DNA-mediated CT within the cell.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)15237-15242
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number36
StatePublished - Sep 8 2009

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General

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