Overexpression of enzymes that repair endogenous damage to DNA

Eur J Biochem. 2000 Apr;267(8):2135-49. doi: 10.1046/j.1432-1327.2000.01266.x.


A significant contribution to human mutagenesis and carcinogenesis may come from DNA damage of endogenous, rather than exogenous, origin. Efficient repair mechanisms have evolved to cope with this. The main repair pathway involved in repair of endogenous damage is DNA base excision repair. In addition, an important contribution is given by O6-alkylguanine DNA alkyltranferase, that repairs specifically the miscoding base O6-alkylguanine. In recent years, several attempts have been carried out to enhance the efficiency of repair of endogenous damage by overexpressing in mammalian cells single enzymatic activities. In some cases (e.g. O6-alkylguanine DNA alkyltransferase or yeast AP endonuclease) this approach has been successful in improving cellular protection from endogenous and exogenous mutagens, while overexpression of other enzymatic activities (e.g. alkyl N-purine glycosylase or DNA polymerase beta) were detrimental and even produced a genome instability phenotype. The reasons for these different outcomes are analyzed and alternative enzymatic activities whose overexpression may improve the efficiency of repair of endogenous damage in human cells are proposed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Alkyl and Aryl Transferases / metabolism
  • Base Pair Mismatch
  • Carcinogens / pharmacology
  • DNA Damage
  • DNA Glycosylases
  • DNA Methylation
  • DNA Repair / genetics*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Enzymologic / genetics*
  • Humans
  • Mutagens / pharmacology
  • N-Glycosyl Hydrolases / metabolism


  • Carcinogens
  • Mutagens
  • Alkyl and Aryl Transferases
  • DNA alkyltransferase
  • DNA Glycosylases
  • N-Glycosyl Hydrolases

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