A back-up glycosylase in Nth1 knock-out mice is a functional Nei (endonuclease VIII) homologue

Masashi Takao, Shin Ichiro Kanno, Kumiko Kobayashi, Qiu Mei Zhang, Shuji Yonei, Gijbertus T.J. Van Der Horst, Akira Yasui

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

200 Citations (Scopus)


Thymine glycol, a potentially lethal DNA lesion produced by reactive oxygen species, can be removed by DNA glycosylase, Escherichia coli Nth (endonuclease III), or its mammalian homologue NTH1. We have found previously that mice deleted in the Nth homologue still retain at least two residual glycosylase activities for thymine glycol. We report herein that in cell extracts from the mNth1 knock-out mouse there is a third thymine glycol glycosylase activity that is encoded by one of three mammalian proteins with sequence similarity to E. coli Fpg (MutM) and Nei (endonuclease VIII). Tissue expression of this mouse Nei-like (designated as Neil1) gene is ubiquitous but much lower than that of mNth1 except in heart, spleen, and skeletal muscle. Recombinant NEIL1 can remove thymine glycol and 5-hydroxyuracil in double- and single-stranded DNA much more efficiently than 8-oxoguanine and can nick the strand by an associated (β-δ) apurinic/apyrimidinic lyase activity. In addition, the mouse NEIL1 has a unique DNA glycosylase/lyase activity toward mismatched uracil and thymine, especially in U:C and T:C mismatches. These results suggest that NEIL1 is a back-up glycosylase for NTH1 with unique substrate specificity and tissue-specific expression.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)42205-42213
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number44
Publication statusPublished - 2002 Nov 1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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