Nontarget DNA binding shapes the dynamic landscape for enzymatic recognition of DNA damage

Joshua I. Friedman, Ananya Majumdar, James T. Stivers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


The DNA repair enzyme human uracil DNA glycosylase (UNG) scans short stretches of genomic DNA and captures rare uracil bases as they transiently emerge from the DNA duplex via spontaneous base pair breathing motions. The process of DNA scanning requires that the enzyme transiently loosen its grip on DNA to allow stochastic movement along the DNA contour, while engaging extrahelical bases requires motions on a more rapid timescale. Here, we use NMR dynamic measurements to show that free UNG has no intrinsic dynamic properties in the millisecond to microsecond and subnanosecond time regimes, and that the act of binding to nontarget DNA reshapes the dynamic landscape to allow productive millisecond motions for scanning and damage recognition. These results suggest that DNA structure and the spontaneous dynamics of base pairs may drive the evolution of a protein sequence that is tuned to respond to this dynamic regime.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3493-3500
Number of pages8
JournalNucleic acids research
Issue number11
StatePublished - 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics


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