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Keywords:

  • DNA repair;
  • Nucleotide excision repair;
  • XPB;
  • TFII-H;
  • Arabidopsis thaliana;
  • plant development

Summary

Nucleotide excision repair in Arabidopsis thaliana differs from other eukaryotes as it contains two paralogous copies of the corresponding XPB/RAD25 gene. In this work, the functional characterization of one copy, AtXPB1, is presented. The plant gene was able to partially complement the UV sensitivity of a yeast rad25 mutant strain, thus confirming its involvement in nucleotide excision repair. The biological role of AtXPB1 protein in A. thaliana was further ascertained by obtaining a homozygous mutant plant containing the AtXPB1 genomic sequence interrupted by a T-DNA insertion. The 3′ end of the mutant gene is disrupted, generating the expression of a truncated mRNA molecule. Despite the normal morphology, the mutant plants presented developmental delay, lower seed viability and a loss of germination synchrony. These plants also manifested increased sensitivity to continuous exposure to the alkylating agent MMS, thus suggesting inefficient DNA damage removal. These results indicate that, although the duplication seems to be recent, the features described for the mutant plant imply some functional or timing expression divergence between the paralogous AtXPB genes. The AtXPB1 protein function in nucleotide excision repair is probably required for the removal of lesions during seed storage, germination and early plant development.