Knowledge about the DNA excision repair system is increasing rapidly. A detailed model for this process in Escherichia coli has emerged in which a lesion in the DNA is first recognized by the UvrA2B helicase complex. Subsequently, UvrC mediates incision on both sites of the DNA injury. Finally, the concerted action of helicase II (UvrD), polymerase and ligase takes care of removal of the damage-containing oligonucleotide, DNA resynthesis and sealing of the residual nick. In the eukaryotes, yeast and mammals a total of 10 excision repair genes have been analysed thus far. However, little is still known about the molecular mechanism of this repair reaction. Amino acid sequence comparison suggests that at least three DNA helicases operate in eukaryotic nucleotide excision. In addition, a striking sequence conservation is noted between human and yeast repair proteins. But no eukaryotic homologs of the UvrABC proteins have been identified. In this Commentary the parallels and differences between the prokaryotic and eukaryotic excision repair pathways are weighed in an attempt to assess the relevance of the E. coli model for the eukaryotic system.

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Journal of Cell Science
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Hoeijmakers, J. (1991). How relevant is the Escherichia coli Uvr ABC model for excision repair in eukaryotes?. Journal of Cell Science, 100, 687–691. Retrieved from