Variant XRCC3 implicated in cancer is functional in homology-directed repair of double-strand breaks

Oncogene. 2002 Jun 13;21(26):4176-80. doi: 10.1038/sj.onc.1205539.


Polymorphisms in DNA repair genes, including double-strand break (DSB) repair genes, are postulated to confer increased cancer risk. A variant of the XRCC3 gene, which is involved in DSB repair, has been associated with increased risk of malignant skin melanoma and bladder cancer. We tested the hypothesis that this variant, Thr241Met, may affect cancer risk by disrupting a critical function of XRCC3, i.e., promoting homology-directed repair (HDR) of chromosomal DSBs. Using a quantitative fluorescence assay, we find that the variant XRCC3 protein is functionally active for HDR, complementing the HDR defects of an XRCC3 mutant cell line as well as the wild-type protein. We also examined cells expressing this variant for sensitivity to the interstrand cross-linking agent, mitomycin C (MMC), as HDR mutant cell lines, including the XRCC3 mutant, have been found to be hypersensitive to this DNA damaging agent. Cells expressing the variant protein were found to be no more sensitive than cells expressing the wild-type protein. These results suggest that the increased cancer risk associated with this variant may not be due to an intrinsic HDR defect.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Base Sequence
  • Cell Line
  • Cricetinae
  • DNA Repair / physiology*
  • DNA, Complementary
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / genetics
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / physiology*
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Recombination, Genetic


  • DNA, Complementary
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • X-ray repair cross complementing protein 3