DNA ligase I (LIG1) catalyzes the ligation of the nick repair intermediate after gap filling by DNA polymerase (pol) β during downstream steps of the base excision repair (BER) pathway. However, how LIG1 discriminates against the mutagenic 3'-mismatches incorporated by polβ at atomic resolution remains undefined. Here, we determine the X-ray structures of LIG1/nick DNA complexes with G:T and A:C mismatches and uncover the ligase strategies that favor or deter the ligation of base substitution errors. Our structures reveal that the LIG1 active site can accommodate a G:T mismatch in the wobble conformation, where an adenylate (AMP) is transferred to the 5'-phosphate of a nick (DNA-AMP), while it stays in the LIG1-AMP intermediate during the initial step of the ligation reaction in the presence of an A:C mismatch at the 3'-strand. Moreover, we show mutagenic ligation and aberrant nick sealing of dG:T and dA:C mismatches, respectively. Finally, we demonstrate that AP-endonuclease 1 (APE1), as a compensatory proofreading enzyme, removes the mismatched bases and interacts with LIG1 at the final BER steps. Our overall findings provide the features of accurate versus mutagenic outcomes coordinated by a multiprotein complex including polβ, LIG1, and APE1 to maintain efficient repair.
© 2022. The Author(s).