Thymine DNA glycosylase is an RNA-binding protein with high selectivity for G-rich sequences. Academic Article uri icon


  • Thymine DNA glycosylase (TDG) is a multifaceted enzyme involved in several critical biological pathways, including transcriptional activation, DNA demethylation, and DNA repair. Recent studies have established regulatory relationships between TDG and RNA, but the molecular interactions underlying these relationships are poorly understood. Herein, we now demonstrate that TDG binds directly to RNA with nanomolar affinity. Using synthetic oligonucleotides of defined length and sequence, we show that TDG has a strong preference for binding G-rich sequences in single-stranded RNA but binds weakly to single-stranded DNA and duplex RNA. TDG also binds tightly to endogenous RNA sequences. Studies with truncated proteins indicate that TDG binds RNA primarily through its structured catalytic domain and that its disordered C-terminal domain plays a key role in regulating TDG's affinity and selectivity for RNA. Finally, we show that RNA competes with DNA for binding to TDG, resulting in the inhibition of TDG-mediated excision in the presence of RNA. Together, this work provides support for and insights into a mechanism wherein TDG-mediated processes (e.g., DNA demethylation) are regulated through the direct interactions of TDG with RNA.

published proceedings

  • J Biol Chem

altmetric score

  • 2.25

author list (cited authors)

  • McGregor, L. A., Zhu, B., Goetz, A. M., & Sczepanski, J. T.

citation count

  • 0

complete list of authors

  • McGregor, Lauren A||Zhu, Baiyu||Goetz, Allison M||Sczepanski, Jonathan T

publication date

  • April 2023