A proteinous factor was purified from calf thymus and HeLa cells, which specifically corrects the excision repair defect of xeroderma pigmentosum complementation group A (XP-A) cells. Recovery of UV-induced unscheduled DNA synthesis after microinjection of XP-A cells was used as a quantitative assay for the correcting activity of protein preparations. XP-A correcting protein appears to be very stable as it withstands heating to 100 degrees C and treatment with SDS or 6 M urea. A molecular weight of 40-45 kD was found both under native (gel filtration) and denaturing (SDS-PAGE) conditions. Calf XP-A protein binds to single-stranded DNA more strongly than to double-stranded DNA, but shows no clear preference for UV-irradiated DNA. Polyclonal antibodies raised against human recombinant XP-A protein, which strongly inhibit UV-induced unscheduled DNA synthesis of normal human cells, completely abolished XP-A correcting activity when mixed with calf thymus preparations. This indicates a close relationship between human gene product and the calf protein. In the final preparation two main protein bands were present. Only one band at approx. 41 kD showed both DNA binding activity in Southwestern blots and immune reaction with human XP-A antibody, suggesting that this is the active calf XP-A correcting factor.