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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2012 Feb 28;109(9):3353-8. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1115105109. Epub 2012 Feb 13.

Nucleotide excision repair (NER) machinery recruitment by the transcription-repair coupling factor involves unmasking of a conserved intramolecular interface.

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Howard Hughes Medical Institute, The Rosenstiel Basic Medical Sciences Research Center, Brandeis University, Waltham, MA 02454, USA.


Transcription-coupled DNA repair targets DNA lesions that block progression of elongating RNA polymerases. In bacteria, the transcription-repair coupling factor (TRCF; also known as Mfd) SF2 ATPase recognizes RNA polymerase stalled at a site of DNA damage, removes the enzyme from the DNA, and recruits the Uvr(A)BC nucleotide excision repair machinery via UvrA binding. Previous studies of TRCF revealed a molecular architecture incompatible with UvrA binding, leaving its recruitment mechanism unclear. Here, we examine the UvrA recognition determinants of TRCF using X-ray crystallography of a core TRCF-UvrA complex and probe the conformational flexibility of TRCF in the absence and presence of nucleotides using small-angle X-ray scattering. We demonstrate that the C-terminal domain of TRCF is inhibitory for UvrA binding, but not RNA polymerase release, and show that nucleotide binding induces concerted multidomain motions. Our studies suggest that autoinhibition of UvrA binding in TRCF may be relieved only upon engaging the DNA damage.

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