DNA excision-repair defect of xeroderma pigmentosum prevents removal of a class of oxygen free radical-induced base lesions.
Plasmid DNA was gamma-irradiated or treated with H2O2 in the presence of Cu2+ to generate oxygen free radical-induced lesions. Open circular DNA molecules were removed by ethidium bromide/CsCl density gradient centrifugation. The closed circular DNA fraction was treated with the Escherichia coli reagent enzymes endonuclease III (Nth protein) and Fpg protein. This treatment converted DNA molecules containing the major base lesions pyrimidine hydrates and 8-hydroxyguanine to a nicked form. Remaining closed circular DNA containing other oxygen radical-induced base lesions was used as a substrate for nucleotide excision-repair in a cell-free system. Extracts from normal human cells, but not extracts from xeroderma pigmentosum cells, catalyzed repair synthesis in this DNA. The repair defect in the latter extracts could be specifically corrected by in vitro complementation. The data suggest that accumulation of endogenous oxidative damage in cellular DNA from xeroderma pigmentosum patients contributes to the increased frequency of internal cancers and the neural degeneration occurring in serious cases of the syndrome.