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Nucleic Acids Res. 1998 Jan 15;26(2):638-44.

Cloning and characterization of a gene (UVR3) required for photorepair of 6-4 photoproducts in Arabidopsis thaliana.

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  • 1Biological Institute, Graduate School of Science, Tohoku University, Sendai 980-77, Japan.


UV radiation induces two major classes of pyrimidine dimers: the pyrimidine [6-4] pyrimidone photoproduct (6-4 product) and the cyclobutane pyrimidine dimer (CPD). Many organisms produce enzymes, termed photolyases, that specifically bind to these damage products and split them via a UV-A/blue light-dependent mechanism, thereby reversing the damage. These photolyases are specific for either CPDs or 6-4 products. A gene that expresses a protein with 6-4 photolyase activity in vitro was recently cloned from Drosophila melanogaster and Xenopus laevis. We report here the isolation of a homolog of this gene, cloned on the basis of sequence similarity, from the higher plant Arabidopsis thaliana. This cloned gene produces a protein with 6-4 photolyase activity when expressed in Escherichia coli. We also find that a previously described mutant of Arabidopsis (uvr3) that is defective in photoreactivation of 6-4 products carries a nonsense mutation in this 6-4 photolyase homolog. We have therefore termed this gene UVR3. Although homologs of this gene have previously been shown to produce a functional 6-4 photolyase when expressed in heterologous systems, this is the first demonstration of a requirement for this gene for photoreactivation of 6-4 products in vivo.

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