Cross-species investigation into the requirement of XPA for nucleotide excision repair

Nucleic Acids Res. 2024 Jan 25;52(2):677-689. doi: 10.1093/nar/gkad1104.


After reconstitution of nucleotide excision repair (excision repair) with XPA, RPA, XPC, TFIIH, XPF-ERCC1 and XPG, it was concluded that these six factors are the minimal essential components of the excision repair machinery. All six factors are highly conserved across diverse organisms spanning yeast to humans, yet no identifiable homolog of the XPA gene exists in many eukaryotes including green plants. Nevertheless, excision repair is reported to be robust in the XPA-lacking organism, Arabidopsis thaliana, which raises a fundamental question of whether excision repair could occur without XPA in other organisms. Here, we performed a phylogenetic analysis of XPA across all species with annotated genomes and then quantitatively measured excision repair in the absence of XPA using the sensitive whole-genome qXR-Seq method in human cell lines and two model organisms, Caenorhabditis elegans and Drosophila melanogaster. We find that although the absence of XPA results in inefficient excision repair and UV-sensitivity in humans, flies, and worms, excision repair of UV-induced DNA damage is detectable over background. These studies have yielded a significant discovery regarding the evolution of XPA protein and its mechanistic role in nucleotide excision repair.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • DNA Damage
  • DNA Repair
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / genetics
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / metabolism
  • Drosophila melanogaster / metabolism
  • Evolution, Molecular
  • Excision Repair*
  • Humans
  • Nucleotides / metabolism
  • Phylogeny
  • Plants / metabolism
  • Xeroderma Pigmentosum Group A Protein* / genetics
  • Xeroderma Pigmentosum Group A Protein* / metabolism


  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Nucleotides
  • Xeroderma Pigmentosum Group A Protein
  • XPA protein, human