Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

The DNA ligase IV.XRCC4 complex (LX) functions in DNA non-homologous-end joining, the main pathway for double-strand break repair in mammalian cells. We show that, in contrast to ligation by T4 ligase, the efficiency of LX ligation of double-stranded (ds) ends is critically dependent upon the length of the DNA substrate. The effect is specific for ds ligation, and LX/DNA binding is not influenced by the substrate length. Ku stimulates LX ligation at concentrations resulting in 1-2 Ku molecules bound per substrate, whereas multiply Ku-bound DNA molecules inhibit ds ligation. The combined footprint of DNA with Ku and LX bound is the sum of each individual footprint suggesting that the two complexes are located in tandem at the DNA end. Inhibition of Ku translocation by the presence of cis-platinum adducts on the DNA substrate severely inhibits ligation by LX. Fluorescence resonance energy transfer analysis using fluorophore-labeled Ku and DNA molecules showed that, as expected, Ku makes close contact with the DNA end and that addition of LX can disrupt this close contact. Finally, we show that recruitment of LX by Ku is impaired in an adenylation-defective mutant providing further evidence that LX interacts directly with the DNA end, possibly via the 5'-phosphate as shown for prokaryotic ligases. Taken together, our results suggest that, when LX binds to a Ku-bound DNA molecule, it causes inward translocation of Ku and that freedom to move inward on the DNA is essential to Ku stimulation of LX activity.

Original publication




Journal article


J Biol Chem

Publication Date





22466 - 22474


Antigens, Nuclear, Base Sequence, Binding Sites, DNA, DNA Helicases, DNA Ligase ATP, DNA Ligases, DNA Primers, DNA Repair, DNA-Binding Proteins, Fluorescence Resonance Energy Transfer, Glycine, Kinetics, Ku Autoantigen, Lysine, Recombinant Proteins, Substrate Specificity