Single nucleotide polymorphisms 5′ upstream the coding region of the NEIL2 gene influence gene transcription levels and alter levels of genetic damage

Carla J. Kinslow, Randa A. El-Zein, Courtney E. Hill, Jeffrey K. Wickliffe, Sherif Z. Abdel-Rahman

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13 Scopus citations


NEIL2 (EC, a mammalian DNA glycosylase and ortholog of the bacterial Fpg/Nei, excises oxidized DNA lesions from bubble or single-stranded structures, suggesting its involvement in transcription-coupled DNA repair. Because base excision repair (BER) proteins act collectively and in a progressive fashion, their proper balance is essential for optimal repair. Thus, inter-individual variability in transcription levels of NEIL2 may predispose to compromised DNA repair capacity and genomic instability by altering the balance of critical BER proteins. In a study of lymphocytes of 129 healthy subjects, using absolute quantitative reverse transcription PCR, we found that NEIL2 transcription varied significantly (up to 63 fold) and that this variability was influenced by certain single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) located 5′ of the start site. Using the mutagen sensitivity assay to characterize the biological significance of these SNPs, we observed a significant increase in mutagen-induced genetic damage associated with two SNPs in the promoter region of the NEIL2 gene. To characterize the functional significance of these SNPs, we engineered luciferase-reporter constructs of the NEIL2 promotor with mutations corresponding to these SNPs. We transfected these constructs into MRC-5 cells and evaluated their impact on NEIL2 expression levels. Our results indicate that NEIL2 expression was significantly reduced by over 50% (P < 0.01) in the presence of two SNPs, ss74800505 and rs8191518, located near the NEIL2 start site, which were in significant linkage disequilibrium (D′ = 73%; P < 0.05). This first report on in vivo variability in NEIL2 expression in humans identifies SNPs in the NEIL2 promoter region that have functional effects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)923-932
Number of pages10
JournalGenes Chromosomes and Cancer
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1 2008


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Cancer Research

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