XERODERMA pigmentosum (XP), a human autosomal recessive disorder, is characterized by extreme sensitivity to sunlight and high incidence of skin cancers. XP cells are defective in the incision step of excision repair of DNA damaged by ultraviolet light. Cell fusion studies have defined seven XP complementation groups, XP-A to XP-G (refs 1,2). Similar genetic complexity of excision repair is observed in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Mutations in any one of five yeast genes, RAD1, RAD2, RAD3, RAD4, and RADIO, cause a total defect in incision and an extreme sensitivity to ultraviolet light3. Here we report the characterization of the yeast RAD14 gene. The available rad14 point mutant is only moderately ultraviolet-sensitive, and it performs a substantial amount of incision of damaged DNA4,5. Our studies with the rad14 deletion (Δ) mutation indicate an absolute requirement of RAD14 in incision. RAD14 encodes a highly hydrophilic protein of 247 amino acids containing zinc-finger motifs, and it is similar to the protein encoded by the human XPAC gene that complements XP group A cell lines6.
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