N-Methylpurine-DNA glycosylase (MPG) initiates base excision repair in DNA by removing a variety of alkylated purine adducts. Although Asp was identified as the active site residue in various DNA glycosylases based on the crystal structure, Glu-125 in human MPG (Glu-145 in mouse MPG) was recently proposed to be the catalytic residue. Mutational analysis for all Asp residues in a truncated, fully active MPG protein showed that only Asp- 152 (Asp-132 in the human protein), which is located near the active site, is essential for catalytic activity. However, the substrate binding was not affected in the inactive Glu-152, Asn-152, and Ala-152 mutants. Furthermore, mutation of Asp-152 did not significantly affect the intrinsic tryptophan fluorescence of the enzyme and the far UV CD spectra, although a small change in the near UV CD spectra of the mutants suggests localized conformational change in the aromatic residues. We propose that in addition to Glu-145 in mouse MPG, which functions as the activator of a water molecule for nucleophilic attack, Asp-152 plays an essential role either by donating a proton to the substrate base and, thus, facilitating its release or by stabilizing the steric configuration of the active site pocket.