Aprataxin is the causative gene product for early-onset ataxia with ocular motor apraxia and hypoalbuminemia/ataxia with oculomotor apraxia type 1 (EAOH/AOA1), the clinical symptoms of which are predominantly neurological. Although aprataxin has been suggested to be related to DNA single-strand break repair (SSBR), the physiological function of aprataxin remains to be elucidated. DNA single-strand breaks (SSBs) continually produced by endogenous reactive oxygen species or exogenous genotoxic agents, typically possess damaged 3'-ends including 3'-phosphate, 3'-phosphoglycolate, or 3'-alpha, beta-unsaturated aldehyde ends. These damaged 3'-ends should be restored to 3'-hydroxyl ends for subsequent repair processes. Here we demonstrate by in vitro assay that recombinant human aprataxin specifically removes 3'-phosphoglycolate and 3'-phosphate ends at DNA 3'-ends, but not 3'-alpha, beta-unsaturated aldehyde ends, and can act with DNA polymerase beta and DNA ligase III to repair SSBs with these damaged 3'-ends. Furthermore, disease-associated mutant forms of aprataxin lack this removal activity. The findings indicate that aprataxin has an important role in SSBR, that is, it removes blocking molecules from 3'-ends, and that the accumulation of unrepaired SSBs with damaged 3'-ends underlies the pathogenesis of EAOH/AOA1. The findings will provide new insight into the mechanism underlying degeneration and DNA repair in neurons.