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Nucleic Acids Res. 1997 Jul 15;25(14):2823-7.

Complementation of the DNA repair-deficient swi10 mutant of fission yeast by the human ERCC1 gene.

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Institute of Genetics, Technische Universität Braunschweig, Spielmannstrasse 7, D-38106 Braunschweig, Germany.


In human cells DNA damage caused by UV light is mainly repaired by the nucleotide excision repair pathway. This mechanism involves dual incisions on both sides of the damage catalyzed by two nucleases. In mammalian cells XPG cleaves 3' of the DNA lesion while the ERCC1-XPF complex makes the 5' incision. The amino acid sequence of the human excision repair protein ERCC1 is homologous with the fission yeast Swi10 protein. In order to test whether these proteins are functional homologues, we overexpressed the human gene in a Schizosaccharomyces pombe swi10 mutant. A swi10 mutation has a pleiotropic effect: it reduces the frequency of mating type switching (a mitotic transposition event from a silent cassette into the expression site) and causes increased UV sensitivity. We found that the full-length ERCC1 gene only complements the transposition defect of the fission yeast mutant, while a C-terminal truncated ERCC1 protein also restores the DNA repair capacity of the yeast cells. Using the two-hybrid system of Saccharomyces cerevisiae we show that only the truncated human ERCC1 protein is able to interact with the S . pombe Rad16 protein, which is the fission yeast homologue of human XPF. This is the first example yet known that a human gene can correct a yeast mutation in nucleotide excision repair.

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