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DNA Repair (Amst). 2004 Mar 4;3(3):277-87.

The yeast Rad7/Rad16/Abf1 complex generates superhelical torsion in DNA that is required for nucleotide excision repair.

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  • 1Department of Pathology, University of Wales College of Medicine, Cardiff CF14 4XN, Wales, UK.


Nucleotide excision repair (NER) in eukaryotes removes DNA base damage as an oligonucleotide in a complex series of reactions. The nature of the dual incision reactions on either side of the damaged base has been extensively investigated. However, the precise mechanism of cleavage of the phosphodiester backbone of the DNA by the NER endonucleases and how this relates to removal of the damage-containing oligonucleotide during the excision process has not been determined. We previously isolated a stable heterotrimeric complex of Rad7/Rad16/Abf1 from yeast which functions in the conserved global genome repair (GGR) pathway. GGR removes lesions from DNA that is not actively transcribing. We have shown previously that the Rad7/Rad16/Abf1 heterotrimer is required to observe DNA repair synthesis and oligonucleotide excision during in vitro NER, but not needed to detect NER-dependent incision in such reactions. Here we report that this protein complex generates superhelicity in DNA through the catalytic activity of the Rad16 component. The torsion generated in the DNA by this complex is necessary to remove the damage-containing oligonucleotide during NER--a process referred to as excision. We conclude that in yeast the molecular mechanism of NER includes the generation of superhelical torsion in DNA.

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