The DNA backbone is often considered a track that allows long-range sliding of DNA repair enzymes in their search for rare damage sites in DNA. A proposed exemplar of DNA sliding is human 8-oxoguanine (°G) DNA glycosylase 1 (hOGG1), which repairs mutagenic °G lesions in DNA. Here we use our high-resolution molecular clock method to show that macroscopic 1D DNA sliding of hOGG1 occurs by microscopic 2D and 3D steps that masquerade as sliding in resolution-limited single-molecule images. Strand sliding was limited to distances shorter than seven phosphate linkages because attaching a covalent chemical road block to a single DNA phosphate located between two closely spaced damage sites had little effect on transfers. The microscopic parameters describing the DNA search of hOGG1 were derived from numerical simulations constrained by the experimental data. These findings support a general mechanism where DNA glycosylases use highly dynamicmultidimensional diffusion paths to scan DNA.
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