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J Mol Histol. 2006 Sep;37(5-7):189-202. Epub 2006 Jul 21.

UV-induced ubiquitylation of XPC complex, the UV-DDB-ubiquitin ligase complex, and DNA repair.

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Genome Damage Response Research Unit, Discovery Research Institute, RIKEN, 2-1 Hirosawa, Wako, Saitama 351-0198, Japan.


The DNA nucleotide excision repair (NER) system is our major defense against carcinogenesis. Defects in NER are associated with several human genetic disorders including xeroderma pigmentosum (XP), which is characterized by a marked predisposition to skin cancer. For initiation of the repair reaction at the genome-wide level, a complex containing one of the gene products involved in XP, the XPC protein, must bind to the damaged DNA site. The UV-damaged DNA-binding protein (UV-DDB), which is impaired in XP group E patients, has also been implicated in damage recognition in global genomic NER, but its precise functions and its relationship to the XPC complex have not been elucidated. However, the recent discovery of the association of UV-DDB with a cullin-based ubiquitin ligase has functionally linked the two damage recognition factors and shed light on novel mechanistic and regulatory aspects of global genomic NER. This article summarizes our current knowledge of the properties of the XPC complex and UV-DDB and discusses possible roles for ubiquitylation in the molecular mechanisms that underlie the efficient recognition and repair of DNA damage, particularly that induced by ultraviolet light irradiation, in preventing damage-induced mutagenesis as well as carcinogenesis.

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