The MMS19 gene of the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae encodes a polypeptide of unknown function which is required for both nucleotide excision repair (NER) and RNA polymerase II (RNAP II) transcription. Here we report the molecular cloning of human and mouse orthologs of the yeast MMS19 gene. Both human and Drosophila MMS19 cDNAs correct thermosensitive growth and sensitivity to killing by UV radiation in a yeast mutant deleted for the MMS19 gene, indicating functional conservation between the yeast and mammalian gene products. Alignment of the translated sequences of MMS19 from multiple eukaryotes, including mouse and human, revealed the presence of several conserved regions, including a HEAT repeat domain near the C-terminus. The presence of HEAT repeats, coupled with functional complementation of yeast mutant phenotypes by the orthologous protein from higher eukaryotes, suggests a role of Mms19 protein in the assembly of a multiprotein complex(es) required for NER and RNAP II transcription. Both the mouse and human genes are ubiquitously expressed as multiple transcripts, some of which appear to derive from alternative splicing. The ratio of different transcripts varies in several different tissue types.
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