The mechanics of base excision repair, and its relationship to aging and disease

DNA Repair (Amst). 2007 Apr 1;6(4):544-59. doi: 10.1016/j.dnarep.2006.10.017. Epub 2006 Nov 16.


Base excision repair (BER) is the major pathway responsible for averting the mutagenic and cytotoxic effects of spontaneous hydrolytic, oxidative, and non-enzymatic alkylation DNA damage. In particular, this pathway recognizes and repairs base modifications, such as uracil and 8-hydroxyguanine, as well as abasic sites and DNA single-strand breaks. In this review, we outline the basic mechanics of the BER process, and describe the potential association of this pathway with aging and age-related disease, namely cancer and neurodegeneration.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aging / genetics*
  • DNA Repair / genetics*
  • Guanine / analogs & derivatives
  • Guanine / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Mitochondria / metabolism
  • Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Neurodegenerative Diseases / genetics*


  • 8-hydroxyguanine
  • Guanine