In plants, exposure to solar ultraviolet (UV) light is unavoidable, resulting in DNA damage. Damaged DNA causes mutations, replication arrest, and cell death, thus efficient repair of the damaged DNA is essential. A light-independent DNA repair pathway called nucleotide excision repair (NER) is conserved throughout evolution. For example, the damaged DNA-binding protein Radiation sensitive 4 (Rad4) in Saccharomyces cerevisiae
is homologous to the mammalian NER protein Xeroderma Pigmentosum complementation group C (XPC). In this study, we examined the role of the Arabidopsis thaliana
Rad4/XPC homologue (AtRAD4) in plant UV tolerance by generating overexpression lines. AtRAD4 overexpression, both with and without an N-terminal yellow fluorescent protein (YFP) tag, resulted in increased UV tolerance. YFP-RAD4 localized to the nucleus, and UV treatment did not alter this localization. We also used yeast two-hybrid analysis to examine the interaction of AtRAD4 with Arabidopsis
RAD23 and found that RAD4 interacted with RAD23B as well as with the structurally similar protein HEMERA (HMR). In addition, we found that hmr
mutants exhibited increased UV sensitivity. Thus, our analysis suggests a role for RAD4 and RAD23/HMR in plant UV tolerance.
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