Reactive oxygen species (ROS) have been implicated as one of the agents responsible for many neurodegenerative diseases. A critical target for ROS is DNA. Most oxidative stress-induced DNA damage in the nucleus and mitochondria is removed by the base excision repair pathway. Apn1 is a yeast enzyme in this pathway which possesses a wider substrate specificity and greater enzyme activity than its mammalian counterpart for removing DNA damage, making it a good therapeutic candidate. For this study we targeted Apn1 to mitochondria in a neuronal cell line derived from the substantia nigra by using a mitochondrial targeting signal (MTS) in an effort to hasten the removal of DNA damage and thereby protect these cells. We found that following oxidative stress, mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) was repaired more efficiently in cells containing Apn1 with the MTS than controls. There was no difference in nuclear repair. However, cells that expressed Apn1 without the MTS showed enhanced repair of both nuclear and mtDNA. Both Apn1-expressing cells were more resistant to cell death following oxidative stress compared with controls. Therefore, these results reveal that the expression of Apn1 in neurons may be of potential therapeutic benefit for treating patients with specific neurodegenerative diseases.
- DNA repair
- Gene therapy
- Mitochondrial DNA
- Neuronal cell line
- Yeast apurinic/apyrimidinic endonuclease
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience