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DNA is exposed to endogenous and environmental factors that can form stable lesions. If not repaired, these lesions can lead to transcription/replication blocking or mutagenic bypass. Our previous work has focused on 8,5′-cyclopurine 2′-deoxyribonucleosides, a unique class of oxidatively induced DNA lesions that are specifically repaired by the NER pathway (see Brooks PJ : DNA Repair 7:1168–1179). Here we used EMSA to monitor the ability of sequence-specific transcription factors, HSF1, CREB, and NF-kappaB and “architectural” transcription factor, HMGA, to bind to their target sequences when 8, 5′(S)-cyclo-2′-deoxyadenosine (cyclo-dAdo) is present within their recognition sequences. For comparison, we also tested the effect of 8-oxo-7,8-dihydro-2′-deoxyadenosine (8-oxo-dAdo) in the same recognition sequences. The presence of a cyclo-dAdo lesion in the target sequence essentially eliminated the binding activity of HSF1, CREB, and NF-kappa B whereas HMGA retained some of its binding activity. In contrast, 8-oxo-dAdo had no obvious effect on the binding activity of HSF1 and HMGA in comparison to lesion-free DNA. Notably, though, CREB and NFκB binding increased when an 8-oxo-dAdo lesion was present in their target sequence. Competition EMSA showed about 2–3-fold increased affinity of both proteins for the 8-oxo-dAdo containing target sequence compared to lesion-free DNA. Molecular modeling of the lesions in the NF-kappaB sequence indicated that 8-oxo-dAdo may form an additional hydrogen bond with the protein, thereby strengthening the binding of NF-kappa B to its DNA target. The cyclo-dAdo lesion, in contrast, distorted the DNA structure, providing an explanation for the inhibition of NF-kappaB binding. Environ. Mol. Mutagen., 2011. © 2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc.