The eukaryotic global genomic nucleotide excision repair (GG-NER) pathway is the major mechanism that removes most bulky and some nonbulky lesions from cellular DNA. There is growing evidence that certain DNA lesions are repaired slowly or are entirely resistant to repair in cells, tissues, and in cell extract model assay systems. It is well established that the eukaryotic DNA lesion-sensing proteins do not detect the damaged nucleotide, but recognize the distortions/destabilizations in the native DNA structure caused by the damaged nucleotides. In this article, the nature of the structural features of certain bulky DNA lesions that render them resistant to NER, or cause them to be repaired slowly, is compared to that of those that are good-to-excellent NER substrates. Understanding the structural features that distinguish NER-resistant DNA lesions from good NER substrates may be useful for interpreting the biological significance of biomarkers of exposure of human populations to genotoxic environmental chemicals. NER-resistant lesions can survive to replication and cause mutations that can initiate cancer and other diseases. Furthermore, NER diminishes the efficacy of certain chemotherapeutic drugs, and the design of more potent pharmaceuticals that resist repair can be advanced through a better understanding of the structural properties of DNA lesions that engender repair-resistance.
ASJC Scopus subject areas