We have reported that the human malaria parasite, Plasmodium falciparum, repairs apurinic/apyrimidinic (AP) sites on DNA by a long-patch base excision repair (BER) pathway. This biology is different from that in mammalian cells, which predominantly repair AP sites by a DNA-polymerase-β-dependent, one-nucleotide patch BER pathway. As a starting point for the identification and biochemical characterization of the enzymes involved in the parasite DNA BER pathway, we chose characterization of the AP endonuclease activity in a P. falciparum cell-free lysate. Evidence is provided for the presence of class II, Mg2+-dependent and independent AP endonucleases in the parasite lysate. The investigation of the processing of AP sites in Plasmodium will provide new information about long-patch BER pathways; if they are different from those in the human host they might provide a new target for anti-malarial chemotherapy.

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