The genomic integrity of all living organisms is constantly jeopardized by physical [e.g. ultraviolet (UV) light, ionizing radiation] and chemical (e.g. environmental pollutants, endogenously produced reactive metabolites) agents that damage the DNA. To overcome the deleterious effects of DNA lesions, nature evolved a number of complex multi-protein repair processes with broad, partially overlapping substrate specificity. In marked contrast, cells may use very simple repair systems, referred to as direct DNA damage reversal, that rely on a single protein, remove lesions in a basically error-free manner, show high substrate specificity, and do not involve incision of the sugar-phosphate backbone or base excision. This concise review deals with two types of direct DNA damage reversal: (i) the repair of alkylating damage by alkyltransferases and dioxygenases, and (ii) the repair of UV-induced damage by spore photoproduct lyases and photolyases. (Part of a Multi-author Review).

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Keywords Alkylation damage, DNA binding, DNA damage, DNA polymorphism, DNA repair, Dioxygenase, Methyltransferease, Photolyase, Spore photoproduct lyase, UV damage, alkylating agent, animal, azacitidine, bacterial protein, carcinogenesis, chemical structure, chemistry, cryptochrome, deoxyribodipyrimidine photolyase, dioxygenase, double stranded DNA, drug mechanism, environmental exposure, enzyme analysis, enzyme binding, enzyme specificity, excision repair, gene mutation, genetics, human, lyase, metabolism, nonhuman, photoreactivation, phylogeny, protein function, review, species difference, sugar phosphate, transferase, ultraviolet irradiation, ultraviolet radiation
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Journal Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences
Eker, A.P.M, Quayle, C, Chaves, I, & van der Horst, G.T.J. (2009). Direct DNA damage reversal: Elegant solutions for nasty problems. Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences (Vol. 66, pp. 968–980). doi:10.1007/s00018-009-8735-0