Analysis of ribonucleotide removal from DNA by human nucleotide excision repair [RNA]

October 21st, 2015 by Lindsey-Boltz, L. A., Kemp, M. G., Hu, J., Sancar, A.

Ribonucleotides are incorporated into the genome during DNA replication. The enzyme RNase H2 plays a critical role in targeting the removal of these ribonucleotides from DNA, and defects in RNase H2 activity are associated with both genomic instability and the human autoimmune/inflammatory disorder Aicardi-Goutieres syndrome. Whether additional general DNA repair mechanisms contribute to ribonucleotide removal from DNA in human cells is not known. Because of its ability to act on a wide variety of substrates, we examined a potential role for canonical nucleotide excision repair in the removal of ribonucleotides from DNA. However, using highly sensitive dual incision/excision assays we find that ribonucleotides are not efficiently targeted by the human nucleotide excision repair system in vitro or in vivo. These results suggest that nucleotide excision repair is unlikely to play a major role in the cellular response to ribonucleotide incorporation in genomic DNA in human cells.