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Oncogene. 2006 Oct 12;25(47):6229-38. Epub 2006 May 8.

Mice with skin-specific DNA repair gene (Ercc1) inactivation are hypersensitive to ultraviolet irradiation-induced skin cancer and show more rapid actinic progression.

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Sir Alastair Currie Cancer Research UK Laboratories, Molecular Medicine Centre, University of Edinburgh, Western General Hospital, Edinburgh, UK.


Ercc1 has an essential role in the nucleotide excision repair (NER) pathway that protects against ultraviolet (UV)-induced DNA damage and is also involved in additional repair pathways. The premature death of simple Ercc1 mouse knockouts meant that we were unable to study the role of Ercc1 in the skin. To do this, we have used the Cre-lox system to generate a skin-specific Ercc1 knockout. With a Cre transgene under control of the bovine keratin 5 promoter we achieved 100% recombination of the Ercc1 gene in the epidermis. Hairless mice with Ercc1-deficient skin were hypersensitive to the short-term effects of UV irradiation, showing a very low minimal erythemal dose and a dramatic hyperproliferative response. Ultraviolet-irradiated mice with Ercc1-deficient skin developed epidermal skin tumours much more rapidly than controls. These tumours appeared to arise earlier in actinic progression and grew more rapidly than tumours on control mice. These responses are more pronounced than have been reported for other NER-deficient mice, demonstrating that Ercc1 has a key role in protecting against UV-induced skin cancer.

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