Modes of interaction among yeast Nej1, Lif1 and Dnl4 proteins and comparison to human XLF, XRCC4 and Lig4

DNA Repair (Amst). 2007 Oct 1;6(10):1507-16. doi: 10.1016/j.dnarep.2007.04.014. Epub 2007 Jun 12.


The nonhomologous end joining (NHEJ) pathway of double-strand break repair depends on DNA ligase IV and its interacting partner protein XRCC4 (Lif1 in yeast). A third yeast protein, Nej1, interacts with Lif1 and supports NHEJ, similar to the distantly related mammalian Nej1 orthologue XLF (also known as Cernunnos). XRCC4/Lif1 and XLF/Nej1 are themselves related and likely fold into similar coiled-coil structures, which suggests many possible modes of interaction between these proteins. Using yeast two-hybrid and co-precipitation methods we examined these interactions and the protein domains required to support them. Results suggest that stable coiled-coil homodimers are a predominant form of XLF/Nej1, just as for XRCC4/Lif1, but that similar heterodimers are not. XLF-XRCC4 and Nej1-Lif1 interactions were instead mediated independently of the coiled coil, and by different regions of XLF and Nej1. Specifically, the globular head of XRCC4/Lif1 interacted with N- and C-terminal domains of XLF and Nej1, respectively. Direct interactions between XLF/Nej1 and DNA ligase IV were also observed, but again appeared qualitatively different than the stable coiled-coil-mediated interaction between XRCC4/Lif1 and DNA ligase IV. The implications of these findings for DNA ligase IV function are considered in light of the evolutionary pattern in the XLF/XRCC4 and XLF/Nej1 family.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • DNA Ligase ATP
  • DNA Ligases / metabolism*
  • DNA Repair Enzymes / metabolism*
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / metabolism*
  • Dimerization
  • Humans
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / metabolism*
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae Proteins / metabolism*
  • Two-Hybrid System Techniques


  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • DNL4 protein, S cerevisiae
  • LIF1 protein, S cerevisiae
  • LIG4 protein, human
  • NEJ1 protein, S cerevisiae
  • NHEJ1 protein, human
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae Proteins
  • XRCC4 protein, human
  • DNA Ligases
  • DNA Repair Enzymes
  • DNA Ligase ATP