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Mol Cell Biol. 1995 Jun; 15(6): 3206–3216.
PMCID: PMC230553

Molecular cloning and expression of human cDNAs encoding a novel DNA ligase IV and DNA ligase III, an enzyme active in DNA repair and recombination.


Three distinct DNA ligases, I to III, have been found previously in mammalian cells, but a cloned cDNA has been identified only for DNA ligase I, an essential enzyme active in DNA replication. A short peptide sequence conserved close to the C terminus of all known eukaryotic DNA ligases was used to search for additional homologous sequences in human cDNA libraries. Two different incomplete cDNA clones that showed partial homology to the conserved peptide were identified. Full-length cDNAs were obtained and expressed by in vitro transcription and translation. The 103-kDa product of one cDNA clone formed a characteristic complex with the XRCC1 DNA repair protein and was identical with the previously described DNA ligase III. DNA ligase III appears closely related to the smaller DNA ligase II. The 96-kDa in vitro translation product of the second cDNA clone was also shown to be an ATP-dependent DNA ligase. A fourth DNA ligase (DNA ligase IV) has been purified from human cells and shown to be identical to the 96-kDa DNA ligase by unique agreement between mass spectrometry data on tryptic peptides from the purified enzyme and the predicted open reading frame of the cloned cDNA. The amino acid sequences of DNA ligases III and IV share a related active-site motif and several short regions of homology with DNA ligase I, other DNA ligases, and RNA capping enzymes. DNA ligases III and IV are encoded by distinct genes located on human chromosomes 17q11.2-12 and 13q33-34, respectively.

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Selected References

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