The human repair gene ERCC6--a presumed DNA (or RNA) helicase--has recently been found to function specifically in preferential nucleotide excision repair (NER). This NER subpathway is primarily directed towards repair of (the transcribed strand of) active genes. Mutations in the ERCC6 gene are responsible for the human hereditary repair disorder Cockayne's syndrome complementation group B, the most common form of the disease. In this report, the genomic organization and expression of this gene are described. It consists of at least 21 exons, together with the promoter covering a region of 82-90 kb on the genome. Postulated functional domains deduced from the predicted amino acid sequence, including 7 distinct helicase signatures, are--with one exception--encoded on separate exons. Consensus splice donor and acceptor sequences are present at all exon borders with the exception of the unusual splice donor at the end of exon VII. The 'invariable' GT dinucleotide in the consensus (C,A)AG/GTPuAGT is replaced by the exceptional GC. Based on 42 GC splice donor sequences identified by an extensive literature search we found a statistically highly significant better 'overall' match of the surrounding nucleotides to the consensus sequence compared to normal GT-sites. This confirms and extends the observation made recently by Jackson (Nucl. Acids Res., 19, 3795-3798 (1991)) derived from analysis of 26 cases. Analysis of ERCC6 cDNA clones revealed the occurrence of alternative polyadenylation, resulting in the (differential) expression of two mRNA molecules (which are barely detectable on Northern blots) of 5 and 7 kb in length.

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Nucleic Acids Research
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Troelstra, C., Hesen, W., Bootsma, D., & Hoeijmakers, J. (1993). Structure and expression of the excision repair gene ERCC6, involved in the human disorder Cockayne's syndrome group B. Nucleic Acids Research, 21, 419–426. Retrieved from