The scaffold protein X-ray repair cross-complementing 1 (XRCC1) interacts with multiple enzymes involved in DNA base excision repair and single-strand break repair (SSBR) and is important for genetic integrity and normal neurological function. One of the most important interactions of XRCC1 is that with polynucleotide kinase/phosphatase (PNKP), a dual-function DNA kinase/phosphatase that processes damaged DNA termini and that, if mutated, results in ataxia with oculomotor apraxia 4 (AOA4) and microcephaly with early-onset seizures and developmental delay (MCSZ). XRCC1 and PNKP interact via a high-affinity phosphorylation-dependent interaction site in XRCC1 and a forkhead-associated domain in PNKP. Here, we identified using biochemical and biophysical approaches a second PNKP interaction site in XRCC1 that binds PNKP with lower affinity and independently of XRCC1 phosphorylation. However, this interaction nevertheless stimulated PNKP activity and promoted SSBR and cell survival. The low-affinity interaction site required the highly conserved Rev1-interacting region (RIR) motif in XRCC1 and included three critical and evolutionarily invariant phenylalanine residues. We propose a bipartite interaction model in which the previously identified high-affinity interaction acts as a molecular tether, holding XRCC1 and PNKP together and thereby promoting the low-affinity interaction identified here, which then stimulates PNKP directly.
Keywords: DNA damage; DNA damage response; DNA repair; base excision repair (BER); oxidative stress.
© 2017 by The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Inc.