Transcription-coupled DNA repair: two decades of progress and surprises

Nat Rev Mol Cell Biol. 2008 Dec;9(12):958-70. doi: 10.1038/nrm2549.


Expressed genes are scanned by translocating RNA polymerases, which sensitively detect DNA damage and initiate transcription-coupled repair (TCR), a subpathway of nucleotide excision repair that removes lesions from the template DNA strands of actively transcribed genes. Human hereditary diseases that present a deficiency only in TCR are characterized by sunlight sensitivity without enhanced skin cancer. Although multiple gene products are implicated in TCR, we still lack an understanding of the precise signals that can trigger this pathway. Futile cycles of TCR at naturally occurring non-canonical DNA structures might contribute to genomic instability and genetic disease.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • DNA / genetics*
  • DNA Damage
  • DNA Repair*
  • Humans
  • Transcription, Genetic*


  • DNA