Bowhead NEIL1: molecular cloning, characterization, and enzymatic properties

Signe Holm, Rikke Møller Larsen, Camilla Myrup Holst, Mads Peter Heide-Jørgensen, John Fleng Steffensen, Tinna Stevnsner, Knud Larsen*

*Corresponding author af dette arbejde

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskrift/Konferencebidrag i tidsskrift /Bidrag til avisTidsskriftartikelForskningpeer review


Nei Like DNA Glycosylase 1 (NEIL1) is a DNA glycosylase, which specifically processes oxidative DNA damage by initiating base excision repair. NEIL1 recognizes and removes bases, primarily oxidized pyrimidines, which have been damaged by endogenous oxidation or exogenous mutagenic agents. NEIL1 functions through a combined glycosylase/AP (apurinic/apyrimidinic)-lyase activity, whereby it cleaves the N-glycosylic bond between the DNA backbone and the damaged base via its glycosylase activity and hydrolysis of the DNA backbone through beta-delta elimination due to its AP-lyase activity. In our study we investigated our hypothesis proposing that the cancer resistance of the bowhead whale can be associated with a better DNA repair with NEIL1 being upregulated or more active. Here, we report the molecular cloning and characterization of three transcript variants of bowhead whale NEIL1 of which two were homologous to human transcripts. In addition, a novel NEIL1 transcript variant was found. A differential expression of NEIL mRNA was detected in bowhead eye, liver, kidney, and muscle. The A-to-I editing of NEIL1 mRNA was shown to be conserved in the bowhead and two adenosines in the 242Lys codon were subjected to editing. A mass spectroscopy analysis of liver and eye tissue failed to demonstrate the existence of a NEIL1 isoform originating from RNA editing. Recombinant bowhead and human NEIL1 were expressed in E. coli and assayed for enzymatic activity. Both bowhead and human recombinant NEIL1 catalyzed, with similar efficiency, the removal of a 5-hydroxyuracil lesion in a DNA bubble structure. Hence, these results do not support our hypothesis but do not refute the hypothesis either.

Sider (fra-til)136-149
Antal sider14
StatusUdgivet - mar. 2023


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