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REVIEW: How Does a Cell Repair Damaged DNA?

N. P. Sharova

Kol'tsov Institute of Developmental Biology, Russian Academy of Sciences, ul. Vavilova 26, 119334 Moscow, Russia; fax: (7-095) 135-8012; E-mail: nsharova@proxima.idb.ac.ru

Received October 13, 2004
DNA in living cells is constantly subjected to different chemical and physical factors of the environment and to cell metabolites. Some changes altering DNA structure occur spontaneously. This raises the potential danger of harmful mutations that could be transmitted to offspring. To avoid the danger of mutations and changing genetic information, a cell is capable to switch on multiple mechanisms of DNA repair that remove damage and restore native structure. In many cases, removal of the same damage may involve several alternative pathways; this is very important for DNA repair under the most unfavorable conditions. This review summarizes data about all known mechanisms of eukaryotic DNA repair including excision repair (base excision repair and nucleotide excision repair), mismatch repair, repair of double-strand breaks, and cross-link repair. Special attention is given to the regulation of excision repair by different proteins--proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA), p53, and proteasome. The review also highlights problem of bypassing irremovable lesions in DNA.
KEY WORDS: DNA damage, DNA repair, lesion bypass