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Research Article

Cockayne syndrome B protein stimulates apurinic endonuclease 1 activity and protects against agents that introduce base excision repair intermediates


The Cockayne syndrome B (CSB) protein—defective in a majority of patients suffering from the rare autosomal disorder CS—is a member of the SWI2/SNF2 family with roles in DNA repair and transcription. We demonstrate herein that purified recombinant CSB and the major human apurinic/apyrimidinic (AP) endonuclease, APE1, physically and functionally interact. CSB stimulates the AP site incision activity of APE1 on normal (i.e. fully paired) and bubble AP–DNA substrates, with the latter being more pronounced (up to 6-fold). This activation is ATP-independent, and specific for the human CSB and full-length APE1 protein, as no CSB-dependent stimulation was observed with Escherichia coli endonuclease IV or an N-terminal truncated APE1 fragment. CSB and APE1 were also found in a common protein complex in human cell extracts, and recombinant CSB, when added back to CSB-deficient whole cell extracts, resulted in increased total AP site incision capacity. Moreover, human fibroblasts defective in CSB were found to be hypersensitive to both methyl methanesulfonate (MMS) and 5-hydroxymethyl-2′-deoxyuridine, agents that introduce base excision repair (BER) DNA substrates/intermediates.