DNA repair and chromatin structure in genetic diseases.

M. W. Lambert, W. C. Lambert

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Interaction of DNA repair proteins with damaged DNA in eukaryotic cells is influenced by the packaging of DNA into chromatin. The basic repeating unit of chromatin, the nucleosome, plays an important role in regulating accessibility of repair proteins to sites of damage in DNA. There are a number of different pathways fundamental to the DNA repair process. Elucidation of the proteins involved in these pathways and the mechanisms they utilize for interacting with damaged nucleosomal and nonnucleosomal DNA has been aided by studies of genetic diseases where there are defects in the DNA repair process. Two of these diseases are xeroderma pigmentosum (XP) and Fanconi anemia (FA). Cells from patients with these disorders are similar in that they have defects in the initial steps of the repair process. However, there are a number of important differences in the nature of these defects. One of these is in the ability of repair proteins from XP and FA cells to interact with damaged nucleosomal DNA. In XP complementation group A (XPA) cells, for example, endonucleases present in a chromatin-associated protein complex involved in the initial steps in the repair process are defective in their ability to incise damaged nucleosomal DNA, but, like the normal complexes, can incise damaged naked DNA. In contrast, in FA complementation group A (FA-A) cells, these complexes are equally deficient in their ability to incise damaged naked and similarly damaged nucleosomal DNA. This ability to interact with damaged nucleosomal DNA correlates with the mechanism of action these endonucleases use for locating sites of damage. Whereas the FA-A and normal endonucleases act by a processive mechanism of action, the XPA endonucleases locate sites of damage distributively. Thus the mechanism of action utilized by a DNA repair enzyme may be of critical importance in its ability to interact with damaged nucleosomal DNA.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)257-310
Number of pages54
JournalProgress in nucleic acid research and molecular biology
StatePublished - 1999

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Molecular Biology


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