Uracil-DNA glycosylase (UNG) is involved in base excision repair of aberrant uracil residues in nuclear and mitochondrial DNA. Ung knockout mice generated by gene targeting are viable, fertile, and phenotypically normal and have regular mutation rates. However, when exposed to a nitric oxide donor, Ung–/– fibroblasts show an increase in the uracil/cytosine ratio in the genome and augmented cell death. After combined oxygen-glucose deprivation, Ung–/– primary cortical neurons have increased vulnerability to cell death, which is associated with early mitochondrial dysfunction. In vivo, UNG expression and activity are low in brains of naive WT mice but increase significantly after reversible middle cerebral artery occlusion and reperfusion. Moreover, major increases in infarct size are observed in Ung–/– mice compared with littermate control mice. In conclusion, our results provide compelling evidence that UNG is of major importance for tissue repair after brain ischemia.
Matthias Endres, Detlev Biniszkiewicz, Robert W. Sobol, Christoph Harms, Michael Ahmadi, Andreas Lipski, Juri Katchanov, Philipp Mergenthaler, Ulrich Dirnagl, Samuel H. Wilson, Andreas Meisel, Rudolf Jaenisch