© The Author(s) 2014. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Nucleic Acids Research.
O(6)-alkylguanine-DNA alkyltransferase (AGT) is a single-cycle DNA repair enzyme that removes pro-mutagenic O(6)-alkylguanine adducts from DNA. Its functions with short single-stranded and duplex substrates have been characterized, but its ability to act on other DNA structures remains poorly understood. Here, we examine the functions of this enzyme on O(6)-methylguanine (6mG) adducts in the four-stranded structure of the human telomeric G-quadruplex. On a folded 22-nt G-quadruplex substrate, binding saturated at 2 AGT:DNA, significantly less than the ∼ 5 AGT:DNA found with linear single-stranded DNAs of similar length, and less than the value found with the telomere sequence under conditions that inhibit quadruplex formation (4 AGT:DNA). Despite these differences, AGT repaired 6mG adducts located within folded G-quadruplexes, at rates that were comparable to those found for a duplex DNA substrate under analogous conditions. Repair was kinetically biphasic with the amplitudes of rapid and slow phases dependent on the position of the adduct within the G-quadruplex: in general, adducts located in the top or bottom tetrads of a quadruplex stack exhibited more rapid-phase repair than did adducts located in the inner tetrad. This distinction may reflect differences in the conformational dynamics of 6mG residues in G-quadruplex DNAs.