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05 2017 eLife

Mutational phospho-mimicry reveals a regulatory role for the XRCC4 and XLF C-terminal tails in modulating DNA bridging during classical non-homologous end joining.


Normanno D, Négrel A, de Melo AJ, Betzi S, Meek K, Modesti M


XRCC4 and DNA Ligase 4 (LIG4) form a tight complex that provides DNA ligase activity for classical non-homologous end joining (the predominant DNA double-strand break repair pathway in higher eukaryotes) and is stimulated by XLF. Independently of LIG4, XLF also associates with XRCC4 to form filaments that bridge DNA. These XRCC4/XLF complexes rapidly load and connect broken DNA, thereby stimulating intermolecular ligation. XRCC4 and XLF both include disordered C-terminal tails that are functionally dispensable in isolation but are phosphorylated in response to DNA damage by DNA-PK and/or ATM. Here we concomitantly modify the tails of XRCC4 and XLF by substituting fourteen previously identified phosphorylation sites with either alanine or aspartate residues. These phospho-blocking and -mimicking mutations impact both the stability and DNA bridging capacity of XRCC4/XLF complexes, but without affecting their ability to stimulate LIG4 activity. Implicit in this finding is that phosphorylation may regulate DNA bridging by XRCC4/XLF filaments.

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