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SLX4 binds to three nucleases (XPF-ERCC1, MUS81-EME1, and SLX1), and its deficiency leads to genomic instability, sensitivity to DNA crosslinking agents, and Fanconi anemia. However, it is not understood how SLX4 and its associated nucleases act in DNA crosslink repair. Here, we uncover consequences of mouse Slx4 deficiency and reveal its function in DNA crosslink repair. Slx4-deficient mice develop epithelial cancers and have a contracted hematopoietic stem cell pool. The N-terminal domain of SLX4 (mini-SLX4) that only binds to XPF-ERCC1 is sufficient to confer resistance to DNA crosslinking agents. Recombinant mini-SLX4 enhances XPF-ERCC1 nuclease activity up to 100-fold, directing specificity toward DNA forks. Mini-SLX4-XPF-ERCC1 also vigorously stimulates dual incisions around a DNA crosslink embedded in a synthetic replication fork, an essential step in the repair of this lesion. These observations define vertebrate SLX4 as a tumor suppressor, which activates XPF-ERCC1 nuclease specificity in DNA crosslink repair.

Original publication




Journal article


Mol Cell

Publication Date





472 - 484


Animals, Base Sequence, Bone Marrow Cells, DNA Adducts, DNA Damage, DNA Repair, DNA-Binding Proteins, Endonucleases, Hematopoietic Stem Cells, Mice, Mice, Inbred C57BL, Mice, Transgenic, Neoplasms, Nucleic Acid Conformation, Recombinases, Tumor Suppressor Proteins