To maintain genome integrity for transfer to their offspring, and to maintain order in cellular processes, all living organisms have DNA repair systems. Besides the well-conserved DNA repair machineries, organisms thriving in extreme environments are expected to have developed efficient repair systems. We recently discovered a novel endonuclease, which cleaves the 5′ side of deoxyinosine, from the hyperthermophilic archaeon, Pyrococcus furiosus. The novel endonuclease, designated as Endonulcease Q (EndoQ), recognizes uracil, abasic site and xanthine, as well as hypoxanthine, and cuts the phosphodiester bond at their 5′ sides. To understand the functional process involving EndoQ, we searched for interacting partners of EndoQ and identified Proliferating Cell Nuclear Angigen (PCNA). The EndoQ activity was clearly enhanced by addition of PCNA in vitro. The physical interaction between the two proteins through a PIP-motif of EndoQ and the toroidal structure of PCNA are critical for the stimulation of the endonuclease activity. These findings provide us a clue to elucidate a unique DNA repair system in Archaea.
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