Deinococcus radiodurans is the most radioresistant bacterium discovered to date. Recently it has been demonstrated that this organism contains the DNA repair enzyme uracil-DNA glycosylase and an apurinic/apyrimidinic (AP) endonuclease that may function as part of a DNA base excision repair pathway. We demonstrate here that a DNA deoxyribophosphodiesterase activity that acts on incised AP sites in DNA to remove deoxyribose-phosphate groups is found in lysates prepared from D. radiodurans cells. The partially purified activity was found to be smaller in size than the E. coli dRpase activity, with an estimated molecular weight of 25-30 kDa. In addition, an activity that recognizes and cleaves DNA containing thymine glycols was also detected, with a molecular weight of approximately 30 kDa. This enzyme may be analogous to the thymine glycol glycosylase/AP lyase endonuclease III of E. coli.

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