Environmental and Molecular Mutagenesis (EMM) Editor's Choice - December 2013
The Editor's Choice for December is “DNA Glycosylases Search for and Remove Oxidized DNA Bases” by Dr. Susan S. Wallace
In her Editor's Choice article, Dr Wallace reviews the biology and biochemistry of DNA glycosylases responsible for the repair of DNA damage induced by reactive oxygen species (ROS). ROS damage underlies many diseases including cancer and cardiovascular disease. ROS are a natural byproduct of cellular energy production. Cells have evolved many ways to address the potentially negative effects of ROS production. These include specific proteins that repair ROS-induced DNA damage. Dr. Wallace has spent much of her career defining the nature of DNA damage generated by oxidative lesions and how these DNA alterations lead to mutations. In addition, her laboratory has identified and characterized a number of the proteins that repair this damage. In this review, she provides an overview of the DNA glycosylases that recognize DNA bases altered by ROS and describes the novel way some of them act. More importantly, she demonstrates how structure defines function in these proteins. Understanding how the structure of glycosylases defines normal responses to ROS-induced DNA damage will aid in understanding the role mutant DNA glycosylases might play in human disease.