In vitro correction of G.T mispairs to G.C pairs in nuclear extracts from human cells

Nature. 1989 May 18;339(6221):234-6. doi: 10.1038/339234a0.


In differentiated cells, only a specific subset of genes is expressed. Recently, several genes have been shown to be transcriptionally inactivated by methylation of cytosine residues, mainly within their promoter sequences. Spontaneous hydrolytic deamination of 5-methylcytosine to thymine, which has been estimated to generate up to 12 G.T mismatched base pairs in the human genome per day, could have a deleterious effect on the expression of such genes. We recently reported that mammalian cells possess a specific repair pathway, which counteracts the mutagenic effects of this deamination by correcting G.T mismatches almost exclusively to G.C pairs. We show here that, in nuclear extracts from HeLa cells, this repair is mediated by excision of the aberrant thymidine monophosphate residue, followed by gap-filling to generate a G.C pair. We also provide preliminary evidence that the initial step of this process involves a DNA glycosylase.

MeSH terms

  • Base Sequence
  • DNA Glycosylases
  • DNA Repair*
  • HeLa Cells
  • Humans
  • Kinetics
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Mutation
  • N-Glycosyl Hydrolases / metabolism


  • DNA Glycosylases
  • N-Glycosyl Hydrolases