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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

The active site of the Escherichia coli MutY DNA adenine glycosylase.

Escherichia coli MutY is an adenine DNA glycosylase active on DNA substrates containing A/G, A/C, or A/8-oxoG mismatches. Although MutY can form a covalent intermediate with its DNA substrates, its possession of 3' apurinic lyase activity is controversial. To study the reaction mechanism of MutY, the conserved Asp-138 was mutated to Asn and the reactivity of this mutant MutY protein determined. The glycosylase activity was completely abolished in the D138N MutY mutant. The D138N mutant and wild-type MutY protein also possessed different DNA binding activities with various mismatches. Several lysine residues were identified in the proximity of the active site by analyzing the imino-covalent MutY-DNA intermediate. Mutation of Lys-157 and Lys-158 both individually and combined, had no effect on MutY activities but the K142A mutant protein was unable to form Schiff base intermediates with DNA substrates. However, the MutY K142A mutant could still bind DNA substrates and had adenine glycosylase activity. Surprisingly, the K142A mutant MutY, but not the wild-type enzyme, could promote a beta/delta-elimination on apurinic DNA. Our results suggest that Asp-138 acts as a general base to deprotonate either the epsilon-amine group of Lys-142 or to activate a water molecule and the resulting apurinic DNA then reacts with Lys-142 to form the Schiff base intermediate with DNA. With the K142A mutant, Asp-138 activates a water molecule to attack the C1' of the adenosine; the resulting apurinic DNA is cleaved through beta/delta-elimination without Schiff base formation.[1]


  1. The active site of the Escherichia coli MutY DNA adenine glycosylase. Wright, P.M., Yu, J., Cillo, J., Lu, A.L. J. Biol. Chem. (1999) [Pubmed]
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