DNA single-strand breaks can arise indirectly, as normal intermediates of DNA base excision repair, or directly from damage to deoxyribose. Because single-strand breaks are induced by endogenous reactive molecules such as reactive oxygen species, these lesions pose a continuous threat to genetic integrity. XRCC1 protein plays a major role in facilitating the repair of single-strand breaks in mammalian cells, via an ability to interact with multiple enzymatic components of repair reactions. Here, the protein-protein interactions facilitated by XRCC1, and the repair processes in which these interactions operate, are reviewed. Models for the repair of single-strand breaks during base excision repair and at direct breaks are presented.