Variant base excision repair proteins: Contributors to genomic instability

Antonia A. Nemec, Susan S. Wallace, Joann B. Sweasy

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

60 Scopus citations


Cells sustain endogenous DNA damage at rates greater than 20,000 DNA lesions per cell per day. These damages occur largely as a result of the inherently unstable nature of DNA and the presence of reactive oxygen species within cells. The base excision repair system removes the majority of DNA lesions resulting from endogenous DNA damage. There are several enzymes that function during base excision repair. Importantly, there are over 100 germline single nucleotide polymorphisms in genes that function in base excision repair and that result in non-synonymous amino acid substitutions in the proteins they encode. Somatic variants of these enzymes are also found in human tumors. Variant repair enzymes catalyze aberrant base excision repair. Aberrant base excision repair combined with continuous endogenous DNA damage over time has the potential to lead to a mutator phenotype. Mutations that arise in key growth control genes, imbalances in chromosome number, chromosomal translocations, and loss of heterozygosity can result in the initiation of human cancer or its progression.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)320-328
Number of pages9
JournalSeminars in Cancer Biology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Base excision repair
  • Cancer
  • Mutator phenotype

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research


Dive into the research topics of 'Variant base excision repair proteins: Contributors to genomic instability'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this