Poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase-1 (PARP-1) is an abundant nuclear enzyme in mammalian cells. The enzyme synthesizes polymers of ADP-ribose from the coenzyme NAD(+) and plays multifaceted roles in cellular responses to genotoxic stress, including DNA repair. It had been shown that mouse fibroblasts treated with a DNA methylating agent in combination with a PARP inhibitor exhibit higher cytotoxicity than cells treated with methylating agent alone. This lethality of the PARP inhibitor is dependent on apurinic/apyrimidinic (AP) sites in the DNA and the presence of PARP-1. Here, we show that purified PARP-1 is capable of forming a DNA-protein cross-link (DPC) by covalently attaching to the AP site. This DPC formation is specific to the presence of the natural AP site in DNA and is accompanied by a single-strand DNA incision. Cellular studies confirm the formation of PARP-1 DPCs during alkylating agent-induced base excision repair (BER) and formation of DPCs is enhanced by a PARP inhibitor. Using an N-terminal and C-terminal truncated PARP-1 we show that a polypeptide fragment comprising the zinc 3 and BRCT sub-domains is sufficient for DPC formation. The covalent attachment of PARP-1 to AP site-containing DNA appears to be a suicidal event when BER is overwhelmed or disrupted.