Many DNA transactions are crucial for maintaining genomic integrity and faithful transfer of genetic information but remain poorly understood. An example is the interplay between nucleotide excision repair (NER) and transcription, also known as transcription-coupled DNA repair (TCR). Discovered decades ago, the mechanisms for TCR have remained elusive, not in small part due to the scarcity of structural studies of key players. Here we summarize recent structural information on NER/TCR factors, focusing on bacterial systems, and integrate it with existing genetic, biochemical, and biophysical data to delineate the mechanisms at play. We also review emerging, alternative modalities for recruitment of NER proteins to DNA lesions.
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