Metnase, a human SET-transposase fusion protein contains two functional domains: a SET domain and transposase domain. Transposase domain exhibit strand transfer and end joining activity while set domain is responsible for histone lysine methyltransferase activity (KMT). Metnase also increases the efficiency of double strand break repair by non-homologous end joining (NHEJ); however, its role in the excision of clustered DNA damage remains to be investigated. We hypothesize that 5’-3’ endonuclease activity of metnase could possibly substitute for APE1 in BER and serve as an alternative initiator of BER in tumor cells lacking APE1. In the present study, we examined in vitro endonuclease activity of Metnase using abasic site containing artificial DNA, and describe its activity in BER. Its unique 5’ endonuclease activity was selective only for abasic lesions, but not other base modifications such as 8-oxoguanine, uracil, hypoxanthine or xanthenes. Metnase specifically initiates removal of reduced abasic lesions from DNA, and allows completion of short-patch or long-patch BER. APE1 has difficulty cleaving 5’ of clustered abasic lesions. This endonuclease that promotes BER in clustered oxidative DNA damage is not known. Metnase also cleaves multiple abasic lesions (clustered DNA damage) and facilitates the repair of DNA if the multiple DNA damages are 3 or more nucleotides apart on the opposing strands. However, repair of multiple DNA damages remains inefficient if these are in close proximity of each other (< 3nt apart on the opposing strands) and results in DNA double strand break (DSB). These results suggest that Metnase can promote BER of oxidative nucleotides, where APE1 is unable to function.

Citation Format: Aruna S. Jaiswal, Elizabeth A. Williamson, Bhavita Patel, Gayathri Srinivasan, Satya Narayan, Robert A. Hromas. The endonuclease Metnase promotes base excision repair of Clustered abasic DNA lesions [abstract]. In: Proceedings of the American Association for Cancer Research Annual Meeting 2017; 2017 Apr 1-5; Washington, DC. Philadelphia (PA): AACR; Cancer Res 2017;77(13 Suppl):Abstract nr 1420. doi:10.1158/1538-7445.AM2017-1420