Author(s): CrdobaCaero D, Dubois E, Ariza RR, Doutriaux MP, RoldnArjona T
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Abstract Uracil in DNA arises by misincorporation of dUMP during replication and by hydrolytic deamination of cytosine. This common lesion is actively removed through a base excision repair (BER) pathway initiated by a uracil DNA glycosylase (UDG) activity that excises the damage as a free base. UDGs are classified into different families differentially distributed across eubacteria, archaea, yeast, and animals, but remain to be unambiguously identified in plants. We report here the molecular characterization of AtUNG (Arabidopsis thaliana uracil DNA glycosylase), a plant member of the Family-1 of UDGs typified by Escherichia coli Ung. AtUNG exhibits the narrow substrate specificity and single-stranded DNA preference that are characteristic of Ung homologues. Cell extracts from atung(-/-) mutants are devoid of UDG activity, and lack the capacity to initiate BER on uracil residues. AtUNG-deficient plants do not display any apparent phenotype, but show increased resistance to 5-fluorouracil (5-FU), a cytostatic drug that favors dUMP misincorporation into DNA. The resistance of atung(-/-) mutants to 5-FU is accompanied by the accumulation of uracil residues in DNA. These results suggest that AtUNG excises uracil in vivo but generates toxic AP sites when processing abundant U:A pairs in dTTP-depleted cells. Altogether, our findings point to AtUNG as the major UDG activity in Arabidopsis.
This article was published in J Biol Chem
and referenced in Journal of Cancer Science & Therapy