SUMO modification of human XRCC4 regulates its localization and function in DNA double-strand break repair

Vyacheslav Yurchenko, Zhu Xue, Moshe J. Sadofsky

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74 Scopus citations


The nonhomologous end-joining (NHEJ) pathway is responsible for rejoining the majority of double-strand breaks in mammalian cells, including the programmed breaks introduced by V(D)J recombination. The regulation of the enzymatic activities associated with this recombination pathway is still largely unknown. Here we report that human XRCC4 (for X-ray cross-complementation group 4), a protein essential for NHEJ, is subject to posttranslational protein modification. The modifier peptide, SUMO, can be added to XRCC4 both in vitro and in vivo. The site of modification is mapped to lysine 210 by using specific mutagenesis. A protein mutated such that it cannot be SUMOylated remains localized in the cytoplasm rather than accumulating in the nucleus. Cells expressing only the mutated protein are radiation sensitive and fail to complete V(D)J recombination. Genetic fusion of the SUMO sequence to the C terminus of the mutant restores nuclear localization and radiation resistance. The modification may serve a regulatory role. Our finding fits with an emerging literature associating SUMO modification with the control of the repair and recombination associated with DNA breaks.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1786-1794
Number of pages9
JournalMolecular and cellular biology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1 2006


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology

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