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AlkB-mediated oxidative demethylation reverses DNA damage in Escherichia coli.

Falnes P.O., Johansen R.F., Seeberg E.

The bacterial AlkB protein is known to be involved in cellular recovery from alkylation damage; however, the function of this protein remains unknown. AlkB homologues have been identified in several organisms, including humans, and a recent sequence alignment study has suggested that these proteins may belong to a superfamily of 2-oxoglutarate-dependent and iron-dependent oxygenases (2OG-Fe(ii)-oxygenases). Here we show that AlkB from Escherichia coli is indeed a 2-oxoglutarate-dependent and iron-dependent DNA repair enzyme that releases replication blocks in alkylated DNA by a mechanism involving oxidative demethylation of 1-methyladenine residues. This mechanism represents a new pathway for DNA repair and the third type of DNA damage reversal mechanism so far discovered.

Nature 419:178-182(2002) [PubMed] [Europe PMC]

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