The DNA damage-sensing NER repair factor XPC-RAD23B does not recognize bulky DNA lesions with a missing nucleotide opposite the lesion

Katie M. Feher, Alexander Kolbanovskiy, Alexander Durandin, Yoonjung Shim, Jung Hyun Min, Yuan Cho Lee, Vladimir Shafirovich, Hong Mu, Suse Broyde, Nicholas E. Geacintov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The Nucleotide Excision Repair (NER) mechanism removes a wide spectrum of structurally different lesions that critically depend on the binding of the DNA damage sensing NER factor XPC-RAD23B (XPC) to the lesions. The bulky mutagenic benzo[a]pyrene diol epoxide metabolite-derived cis- and trans-B[a]P-dG lesions (G*) adopt base-displaced intercalative (cis) or minor groove (trans) conformations in fully paired DNA duplexes with the canonical C opposite G* (G*:C duplexes). While XPC has a high affinity for binding to these DNA lesions in fully complementary double-stranded DNA, we show here that deleting only the C in the complementary strand opposite the lesion G* embedded in 50-mer duplexes, fully abrogates XPC binding. Accurate values of XPC dissociation constants (KD) were determined by employing an excess of unmodified DNA as a competitor; this approach eliminated the binding and accumulation of multiple XPC molecules to the same DNA duplexes, a phenomenon that prevented the accurate estimation of XPC binding affinities in previous studies. Surprisingly, a detailed comparison of XPC dissociation constants KD of unmodified and lesion-containing G*:Del complexes, showed that the KD values were −2.5–3.6 times greater in the case of G*:Del than in the unmodified G:Del and fully base-paired G:C duplexes. The origins of this unexpected XPC lesion avoidance effect is attributed to the intercalation of the bulky, planar B[a]P aromatic ring system between adjacent DNA bases that thermodynamically stabilize the G*:Del duplexes. The strong lesion-base stacking interactions associated with the absence of the partner base, prevent the DNA structural distortions needed for the binding of the BHD2 and BHD3 β−hairpins of XPC to the deletion duplexes, thus accounting for the loss of XPC binding and the known NER-resistance of G*:Del duplexes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number102985
JournalDNA Repair
StatePublished - Dec 2020


  • Base sequence effect
  • DNA lesion
  • NER-resistance
  • Nucleotide deletion
  • Nucleotide excision repair
  • XPC-Rad23B

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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