In the accompanying paper [Matsubara, M., et al. (2003) Biochemistry 42, 4993-5002], we have partially purified and characterized rat 5-formyluracil (fU)-DNA glycosylase (FDG). Several lines of evidence have indicated that FDG is a rat homologue of single-strand-selective monofunctional uracilDNA glycosylase (SMUG1). We report here that rat and human SMUG1 (rSMUG1 and hSMUG1) expressed from the corresponding cDNAs indeed excise fU in single-stranded (ss) and double-stranded (ds) DNA. The enzymes also excised uracil (U) and uracil derivatives bearing an oxidized group at C5 [5-hydroxyuracil (hoU) and 5-hydroxymethyluracil (hmU)] in ssDNA and dsDNA but not analogous cytosine derivatives (5-hydroxycytosine and 5-formylcytosine) and other oxidized damage. The damage specificity and the salt concentration dependence of rSMUG1 (and hSMUG1) agreed well with those of FDG, confirming that FDG is rSMUG1. Consistent with the damage specificity above, hSMUG1 removed damaged bases from Fenton-oxidized calf thymus DNA, generating abasic sites. The amount of resulting abasic sites was about 10% of that generated by endonuclease III or 8-oxoguanine glycosylase in the same substrate. The HeLa cell extract and hSMUG1 exhibited a similar damage preference (hoU·G > hmU·A, fU·A), and the activities for fU, hmU, and hoU in the cell extract were effectively neutralized with hSMUG1 antibodies. These data indicate a dual role of hSMUG1 as a backup enzyme for UNG and a primary repair enzyme for a subset of oxidized pyrimidines such as fU, hmU, and hoU.
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