Topoisomerase I (topo I) relaxes supercoiled DNA through a breakage/rejoining reaction which involves a transient covalent bond between topo I and the 3' end of the cleaved DNA strand. Topo I activity is now shown to be involved in DNA damage/repair pathway in vivo. Down regulating topo I levels using anti-sense RNA approach inhibits repair of UV-induced DNA lesions, negatively affects clonogenic survival following UV-irradiation, and reduces the formation of repair patches at the cytological level. Finally, topo I is actively recruited onto genomic DNA following DNA damage by UV light without inducing ubiquitin-dependent degradation of topo I. Thus, topo I activity is important, possibly required, for pre- or post-DNA damage processing in nucleotide excision repair (NER).