The protein encoded by this gene belongs to the TDG/mug DNA glycosylase family. Thymine-DNA glycosylase (TDG) removes thymine moieties from G/T mismatches by hydrolyzing the carbon-nitrogen bond between the sugar-phosphate backbone of DNA and the mispaired thymine. With lower activity, this enzyme also removes thymine from C/T and T/T mispairings. TDG can also remove uracil and 5-bromouracil from mispairings with guanine. This enzyme plays a central role in cellular defense against genetic mutation caused by the spontaneous deamination of 5-methylcytosine and cytosine. This gene may have a pseudogene in the p arm of chromosome 12.
Additionally, in 2011, the human thymine DNA glycosylase (hTDG) was reported to efficiently excises 5-formylcytosine (5fC) and 5-carboxylcytosine (5caC), the key oxidation products of 5-methylcytosine in genomic DNA. Later on, the crystal structure of the hTDG catalytic domain in complex with duplex DNA containing 5caC was published, which supports the role of TDG in mammalian 5-methylcytosine demethylation.
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