Noah P Bradley, Lauren A Washburn, Plamen P Christov, Coran M H Watanabe, and Brandt F Eichman
Nucleic Acids Res (2020), gkaa346, doi:10.1093/nar/gkaa346
Bradley et al. have carried out a thorough mechanistic analysis of a previously uncharacterised DNA repair enzyme from E. coli, YcaQ. The protein belongs to a family of DNA glycosylases, which cleave the bond between a damaged base and the DNA backbone. YcaQ is special in that it specifically recognises bases that form part of an interstrand crosslink (ICL), one of the most dangerous types of lesions. This type of activity has been observed before, but is not well understood mechanistically. In their study, they demonstrate that YcaQ defines an ICL repair pathway alternative to such systems as the Fanconi anaemia or NER-based pathways.