Two candidate human orthologs of Escherichia coli MutM/Nei were recently identified in the human genome database, and one of these, NEH1, was characterized earlier (Hazra, T. K., Izumi, T., Boldogh, I., Imhoff, B., Kow, Y. W., Jaruga, P., and Dizdaroglu, M. (2002) Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U. S. A. 99, 3523-3528). Here we report characterization of the second protein, originally named NEH2 and now renamed NEIL2 (Nei-like). The 37-kDa wild-type NEIL2 expressed in and purified from E. coli has DNA glycosylase/AP lyase activity, primarily for excising oxidative products of cytosine, with highest activity for 5-hydroxyuracil, one of the most abundant and mutagenic lesions induced by reactive oxygen species, and with lower activity for 5,6-dihydrouracil and 5-hydroxycytosine. It has negligible or undetectable activity with 8-oxoguanine, thymine glycol, 2-hydroxyadenine, hypoxanthine, and xanthine. NEIL2 is similar to NEIL1 in having N-terminal Pro as the active site. However, unlike NEIL1, its expression was independent of the cell cycle stage in fibroblasts, and its highest expression was observed in the testes and skeletal muscle. Despite the absence of a putative nuclear localization signal, NEIL2 was predominantly localized in the nucleus. These results suggest that NEIL2 is involved in global genome repair mainly for removing oxidative products of cytosine.


This is an Open Access article under the CC BY license.


American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB)

Date of publication

Summer 7-3-2002



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