DNA-crosslinks are one of the most severe types of DNA lesions. Crosslinks (CLs) can be subdivided into DNA-intrastrand CLs, DNA-interstrand CLs (ICLs) and DNA-protein crosslinks (DPCs), and arise by various exogenous and endogenous sources. If left unrepaired before the cell enters S-phase, ICLs and DPCs pose a major threat to genomic integrity by blocking replication. In order to prevent the collapse of replication forks and impairment of cell division, complex repair pathways have emerged. In mammals, ICLs are repaired by the so-called Fanconi anemia (FA) pathway, which includes 22 different FANC
genes, while in plants only a few of these genes are conserved. In this context, two pathways of ICL repair have been defined, each requiring the interaction of a helicase (FANCJB/RTEL1) and a nuclease (FAN1/MUS81). Moreover, homologous recombination (HR) as well as postreplicative repair factors are also involved. Although DPCs possess a comparable toxic potential to cells, it has only recently been shown that at least three parallel pathways for DPC repair exist in plants, defined by the protease WSS1A, the endonuclease MUS81 and tyrosyl-DNA phosphodiesterase 1 (TDP1). The importance of crosslink repair processes are highlighted by the fact that deficiencies in the respective pathways are associated with diverse hereditary disorders.
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