Regulation of protein expression can be achieved through destruction of proteins by the 26S proteasome. Cellular processes that are regulated by proteolysis include cell cycle progression, stress responses and differentiation. Several nucleotide excision repair proteins in yeast and humans, such as Rad23, Rad4 and XPB, have been shown to co-purify with Cim3 and Cim5, AAA ATPases of the 19S proteasome regulatory subunit. However, it has not been determined if nucleotide excision repair is regulated through protein destruction. We measured nucleotide excision repair in yeast mutants that are defective in proteasome function and found that the repair of the transcribed and non-transcribed strands of an RNA polymerase II-transcribed reporter gene was increased in the absence of proteasome function. Additionally, overexpression of the Rad4 repair protein, which is bound to the repair/proteolytic factor Rad23, conferred higher rates of nucleotide excision repair. Based on our data we suggest that a protein (or proteins) involved in nucleotide excision repair or in regulation of repair is degraded by the 26S proteasome. We propose that decreased proteasome function enables increased DNA repair, due to the transient accumulation of a specific repair factor, perhaps Rad4.
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