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Nucleic Acids Res. 2011 Apr;39(8):3176-87. doi: 10.1093/nar/gkq1318. Epub 2010 Dec 30.

Regulation of nucleotide excision repair activity by transcriptional and post-transcriptional control of the XPA protein.

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  • 1Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics, University of North Carolina School of Medicine, Chapel Hill, NC 27599, USA.


The XPA (Xeroderma pigmentosum A) protein is one of the six core factors of the human nucleotide excision repair system. In this study we show that XPA is a rate-limiting factor in all human cell lines tested, including a normal human fibroblast cell line. The level of XPA is controlled at the transcriptional level by the molecular circadian clock and at the post-translational level by a HECT domain family E3 ubiquitin ligase called HERC2. Stabilization of XPA by downregulation of HERC2 moderately enhances excision repair activity. Conversely, downregulation of XPA by siRNA reduces excision repair activity in proportion to the level of XPA. Ubiquitination and proteolysis of XPA are inhibited by DNA damage that promotes tight association of the protein with chromatin and its dissociation from the HERC2 E3 ligase. Finally, in agreement with a recent report, we find that XPA is post-translationally modified by acetylation. However, contrary to the previous claim, we find that in mouse liver only a small fraction of XPA is acetylated and that downregulation of SIRT1 deacetylase in two human cell lines does not affect the overall repair rate. Collectively, the data reveal that XPA is a limiting factor in excision repair and that its level is coordinately regulated by the circadian clock, the ubiquitin-proteasome system and DNA damage.

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