ABSTRACT: The UV hypersensitive CHO cell mutant UV41 is the archetypal XPF mammalian cell mutant, and was essential for cloning the human nucleotide excision repair (NER) gene XPF by DNA transfection and rescue. The ERCC1 and XPF genes encode proteins that form the heterodimer responsible for making incisions required in NER and the processing of certain types of recombination intermediates. In this study, we cloned and sequenced the CHO cell XPF cDNA, determining that the XPF mutation in UV41 is a +1 insertion in exon 8 generating a premature stop codon at amino acid position 499; however, the second allele of XPF is apparently unaltered in UV41, resulting in XPF heterozygosity. XPF expression was found to be several-fold lower in UV41 compared to its parental cell line, AA8. Using approaches we previously developed to study intrachromosomal recombination in CHO cells, we modified UV41 and its parental cell line AA8 to allow site-specific gene targeting at a Flp recombination target (FRT) in intron 3 of the endogenous adenine phosphoribosyltransferase (APRT) locus. Using FLP/FRT targeting, we integrated a plasmid containing an I-SceI endonuclease sequence into this site in the paired cell lines to generate a heteroallelic APRT duplication. Frequencies of intrachromosomal recombination between APRT heteroalleles and the structures of resulting recombinants were analyzed after I-SceI induction of site-specific double-strand breaks (DSBs) in a non-homologous insertion contained within APRT homology. Our results show that I-SceI induced a small proportion of aberrant recombinants reflecting DSB-induced deletions/rearrangements in parental, repair-proficient AA8 cells. However, in XPF mutant UV41, XPF heterozygosity is responsible for a similar, but much more pronounced genomic instability phenotype, manifested independently of DSB induction. In addition, gene conversions were suppressed in UV41 cells compared to wild-type cells. These observations suggest that UV41 exhibits a genomic instability phenotype of aberrant recombinational repair, confirming a critical role for XPF in mammalian cell recombination.
DNA Repair 09/2008; 7(8):1319-29. · 4.14 Impact Factor