* To whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received August 30, 2010; Revision received September 8, 2010
Nucleotide excision repair (NER) is one of the major DNA repair pathways in eukaryotic cells counteracting genetic changes caused by DNA damage. NER removes a wide set of structurally diverse lesions such as pyrimidine dimers arising upon UV irradiation and bulky chemical adducts arising upon exposure to carcinogens or chemotherapeutic drugs. NER defects lead to severe diseases including some forms of cancer. In view of the broad substrate specificity of NER, it is of interest to understand how a certain set of proteins recognizes various DNA lesions in the context of a large excess of intact DNA. This review focuses on DNA damage recognition and following stages resulting in preincision complex assembly, the key and still most unclear steps of NER. The major models of primary damage recognition and preincision complex assembly are considered. The contribution of affinity labeling techniques in study of this process is discussed.
KEY WORDS: nucleotide excision repair, repair factors, damage recognition, preincision complex, photoaffinity labeling