In plants, there are no DNA polymerase beta (Pol beta) and DNA ligase III (Lig3) genes. Thus, the plant short-patch base excision repair (short-patch BER) pathway must differ considerably from that in mammals. We characterized the rice (Oryza Sativa L. cv. Nipponbare) homologue of the mammalian X-ray repair cross complementing 1 (XRCC1), a well-known BER protein. The plant XRCC1 lacks the N-terminal domain (NTD) which is required for Pol beta binding and is essential for mammalian cell survival. The recombinant rice XRCC1 (OsXRCC1) protein binds single-stranded DNA (ssDNA) as well as double-stranded DNA (dsDNA) and also interacts with rice proliferating cell nuclear antigen (OsPCNA) in a pull-down assay. Through immunoprecipitation, we demonstrated that OsXRCC1 forms a complex with PCNA in vivo. OsXRCC1 mRNA was expressed in all rice organs and was induced by application of bleomycin, but not of MMS, H(2)O(2) or UV-B. Bleomycin also increased the fraction of OsXRCC1 associated with chromatin. These results suggest that OsXRCC1 contributes to DNA repair pathways that differ from the mammalian BER system.