PAXX, a paralog of XRCC4 and XLF, interacts with Ku to promote DNA double-strand break repair

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Science  09 Jan 2015:
Vol. 347, Issue 6218, pp. 185-188
DOI: 10.1126/science.1261971

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A factor for repairing broken DNA

Unprogrammed DNA double-strand breaks are extremely dangerous for genomic stability. Nonhomologous end-joining (NHEJ) repair systems are present in all domains of life and help deal with these potentially lethal lesions. Ochi et al. have discovered a new factor involved in NHEJ by searching for proteins with structural similarities to known NHEJ proteins. Specifically, PAXX, a paralog of XRCC1 and XLF, interacts with a key repair pathway protein, Ku, and helps promote ligation of the broken DNA.

Science, this issue p. 185


XRCC4 and XLF are two structurally related proteins that function in DNA double-strand break (DSB) repair. Here, we identify human PAXX (PAralog of XRCC4 and XLF, also called C9orf142) as a new XRCC4 superfamily member and show that its crystal structure resembles that of XRCC4. PAXX interacts directly with the DSB-repair protein Ku and is recruited to DNA-damage sites in cells. Using RNA interference and CRISPR-Cas9 to generate PAXX−/− cells, we demonstrate that PAXX functions with XRCC4 and XLF to mediate DSB repair and cell survival in response to DSB-inducing agents. Finally, we reveal that PAXX promotes Ku-dependent DNA ligation in vitro and assembly of core nonhomologous end-joining (NHEJ) factors on damaged chromatin in cells. These findings identify PAXX as a new component of the NHEJ machinery.

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