MD simulation and experimental evidence for Mg²+ binding at the B site in human AP endonuclease 1

Bioinformation. 2011;7(4):184-98. doi: 10.6026/97320630007184. Epub 2011 Oct 14.


Apurinic/apyrimidinic endonuclease 1 (APE1), a central enzyme in the base excision repair pathway, cleaves damaged DNA in Mg(2+) dependent reaction. Despite characterization of nine X-ray crystallographic structures of human APE1, in some cases, bound to various metal ions and substrate/product, the position of the metal ion and its stoichiometry for the cleavage reaction are still being debated. While a mutation of the active site E96Q was proposed to eliminate Mg(2+) binding at the "A" site, we show experimentally that this mutant still requires Mg(2+) at concentration similar to that for the wild type enzyme to cleave the AP site in DNA. Molecular dynamics simulations of the wild type APE1, E96Q and a double missense mutant E96Q + D210N indicate that Mg(2+) placed at the A-site destabilizes the bound AP site-containing DNA. In these simulations, the H-bond chain D238-H309-AP site oxygen is broken and the substrate DNA is shifted away from its crystal structure position (1DE9). In contrast, simulations with the Mg(2+) at site B or A+B sites leave the substrate DNA at the position shown in the crystal structure (1DE9). Taken together our MD simulations and biochemical analysis suggests that Mg(2+) binding at the B site is involved in the reaction mechanism associated with endonuclease function of APE1.

Keywords: Base excision repair; DNA binding; Phosphodiester; Ref-1.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.