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J Biol Chem. 2005 Aug 5;280(31):28644-52. Epub 2005 Jun 1.

Biophysical characterization of the interaction domains and mapping of the contact residues in the XPF-ERCC1 complex.

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  • 1Department of Chemistry and National Creative Research Initiative Center, Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, 373-1 Guseong-dong, Yuseong-gu, Daejon 305-701, Korea.


XPF and ERCC1 exist as a heterodimer to be stable and active in cells and catalyze DNA cleavage on the 5'-side of a lesion during nucleotide excision repair. To characterize the specific interaction between XPF and ERCC1, we expressed the human ERCC1 binding domain of XPF (XPF-EB) and the XPF binding domain of ERCC1 (ERCC1-FB) in Escherichia coli. Milligram quantities of a heterodimer were characterized with gel filtration chromatography, an Ni(2+)-NTA binding assay, and analytical ultracentrifugation. Cross-linking experiments at high salt concentrations revealed that XPF interacts with ERCC1 mainly through hydrophobic interactions. XPF-EB was also shown to homodimerize in the absence of ERCC1. NMR cross-saturation methods were applied to map the residues involved in formation of the XPF-EB.XPF-EB homodimer and the XPF-EB.ERCC1-FB heterodimer. Helix H3 and the C-terminal region of XPF-EB were either within or in close proximity to the homodimer interface, whereas the ERCC1-FB binding site of XPF-EB was distributed across helix H1, a small part of H2, H3, and the C-terminal region, most of which exhibited large changes in chemical shift upon ERCC1 binding. The XPF-EB heterodimeric interface is larger than the XPF-EB homodimeric one, which could explain why XPF has a stronger affinity for ERCC1 than for a second molecule of XPF. The XPF binding sites of ERCC1 were located in helices H1 and H3 and in the C-terminal region, similar to the involved surface of XPF. We used cross-saturation data and the crystal structure of related proteins to model the two complexes.

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