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In mammalian cells, DNA ligase IIIalpha and DNA ligase I participate in the short- and long-patch base excision repair pathways, respectively. Using an in vitro repair assay employing DNA ligase-depleted cell extracts and DNA substrates containing a single lesion repaired either through short-patch (regular abasic site) or long-patch (reduced abasic site) base excision repair pathways, we addressed the question whether DNA ligases are specific to each pathway or if they are exchangeable. We find that immunodepletion of DNA ligase I did not affect the short-patch repair pathway but blocked long-patch repair, suggesting that DNA ligase IIIalpha is not able to substitute DNA ligase I during long-patch repair. In contrast, immunodepletion of DNA ligase IIIalpha did not significantly affect either pathway. Moreover, repair of normal abasic sites in wild-type and X-ray cross-complementing gene 1 (XRCC1)-DNA ligase IIIalpha-immunodepleted cell extracts involved similar proportions of short- and long-patch repair events. This suggests that DNA ligase I was able to efficiently substitute the XRCC1-DNA ligase IIIalpha complex during short-patch repair.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





12924 - 12930


Animals, Base Sequence, CHO Cells, Cell Line, Cricetinae, DNA, DNA Damage, DNA Ligase ATP, DNA Ligases, DNA Repair, DNA-Binding Proteins, Humans, Molecular Sequence Data, Poly-ADP-Ribose Binding Proteins, Time Factors, X-ray Repair Cross Complementing Protein 1, Xenopus Proteins