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J Biol Chem. 2000 Aug 25;275(34):26196-205.

Interactions of the DNA ligase IV-XRCC4 complex with DNA ends and the DNA-dependent protein kinase.

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  • 1Department of Molecular Medicine, Institute of Biotechnology, University of Texas Health Science Center, San Antonio, Texas 78245, USA.


The DNA-dependent protein kinase (DNA-PK), consisting of Ku and the DNA-PK catalytic subunit (DNA-PKcs), and the DNA ligase IV-XRCC4 complex function together in the repair of DNA double-strand breaks by non-homologous end joining. These protein complexes are also required for the completion of V(D)J recombination events in immune cells. Here we demonstrate that the DNA ligase IV-XRCC4 complex binds specifically to the ends of duplex DNA molecules and can act as a bridging factor, linking together duplex DNA molecules with complementary but non-ligatable ends. Although the DNA end-binding protein Ku inhibited DNA joining by DNA ligase IV-XRCC4, it did not prevent this complex from binding to DNA. Instead, DNA ligase IV-XRCC4 and Ku bound simultaneously to the ends of duplex DNA molecules. DNA ligase IV-XRCC4 and DNA-PKcs also formed complexes at the ends of DNA molecules, but DNA-PKcs did not inhibit ligation. Interestingly, DNA-PKcs stimulated intermolecular ligation by DNA ligase IV-XRCC4. In the presence of DNA-PK, the majority of the joining events catalyzed by DNA ligase IV-XRCC4 were intermolecular because Ku inhibited intramolecular ligation, but DNA-PKcs still stimulated intramolecular ligation. We suggest that DNA-PKcs-containing complexes formed at DNA ends enhance the association of DNA ends via protein-protein interactions, thereby stimulating intermolecular ligation.

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