Uracil-DNA glycosylase efficiency is modulated by substrate rigidity

Paul B. Orndorff, Souvik Poddar, Aerial M. Owens, Nikita Kumari, Bryan T. Ugaz, Samrat Amin, Wade D. Van Horn, Arjan van der Vaart, Marcia Levitus

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Uracil DNA-glycosylase (UNG) is a DNA repair enzyme that removes the highly mutagenic uracil lesion from DNA using a base flipping mechanism. Although this enzyme has evolved to remove uracil from diverse sequence contexts, UNG excision efficiency depends on DNA sequence. To provide the molecular basis for rationalizing UNG substrate preferences, we used time-resolved fluorescence spectroscopy, NMR imino proton exchange measurements, and molecular dynamics simulations to measure UNG specificity constants (kcat/KM) and DNA flexibilities for DNA substrates containing central AUT, TUA, AUA, and TUT motifs. Our study shows that UNG efficiency is dictated by the intrinsic deformability around the lesion, establishes a direct relationship between substrate flexibility modes and UNG efficiency, and shows that bases immediately adjacent to the uracil are allosterically coupled and have the greatest impact on substrate flexibility and UNG activity. The finding that substrate flexibility controls UNG efficiency is likely significant for other repair enzymes and has major implications for the understanding of mutation hotspot genesis, molecular evolution, and base editing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number3915
JournalScientific reports
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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