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Exp Cell Res. 2008 Feb 15;314(4):887-95. Epub 2007 Nov 17.

DNA polymerase eta reduces the gamma-H2AX response to psoralen interstrand crosslinks in human cells.

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Department of Dermatology, University of California, San Francisco, and Dermatology Research Unit, San Francisco VA Medical Center 94121, USA.


DNA interstrand crosslinks are processed by multiple mechanisms whose relationships to each other are unclear. Xeroderma pigmentosum-variant (XP-V) cells lacking DNA polymerase eta are sensitive to psoralen photoadducts created under conditions favoring crosslink formation, suggesting a role for translesion synthesis in crosslink repair. Because crosslinks can lead to double-strand breaks, we monitored phosphorylated H2AX (gamma-H2AX), which is typically generated near double-strand breaks but also in response to single-stranded DNA, following psoralen photoadduct formation in XP-V fibroblasts to assess whether polymerase eta is involved in processing crosslinks. In contrast to conditions favoring monoadducts, conditions favoring psoralen crosslinks induced gamma-H2AX levels in both XP-V and nucleotide excision repair-deficient XP-A cells relative to control repair-proficient cells; ectopic expression of polymerase eta in XP-V cells normalized the gamma-H2AX response. In response to psoralen crosslinking, gamma-H2AX as well as 53BP1 formed coincident foci that were more numerous and intense in XP-V and XP-A cells than in controls. Psoralen photoadducts induced gamma-H2AX throughout the cell cycle in XP-V cells. These results indicate that polymerase eta is important in responding to psoralen crosslinks, and are consistent with a model in which nucleotide excision repair and polymerase eta are involved in processing crosslinks and avoiding gamma-H2AX associated with double-strand breaks and single-stranded DNA in human cells.

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