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Date of Award


Document Type

Restricted Thesis: Campus only access

Degree Name

Master of Science in Biology



First Reader/Committee Chair

Bournias-Vardiabasis, Nicole


DNA double strand break (DSB) repair is critical to maintain genomic integrity and cell viability. DSBs can occur during the course of cell cycle during replication or transcription, or by exogenous agents such as chemicals or ionizing radiation. For my thesis, I studied homologous recombination (HR), which has two sub-pathways: Homology Directed Repair (HDR) and Single Strand Annealing (SSA). HDR involves strand invasion of a homologous template to prime DNA synthesis; SSA involves annealing of homologous segments flanking a DSB. Background data showed that depletion of XAB2 protein by RNA interference reduced both HDR and SSA events. XAB2 protein contains 15 tetratricopeptide repeat (TPR) motifs, which likely enable protein-protein interactions. While XAB2 is speculated to have a role in transcription coupled repair and pre-mRNA splicing, its role in HR pathway is uncertain. The overall hypothesis for my thesis is that XAB2 mediates a specific step of HR (5’-3’ end resection), and the TPR motifs present in XAB2 enable the protein to function in a complex during HR. By using an end resection assay and cell biology analysis, I found that XAB2 is essential for 5’ – 3’ end resection, an intermediate step common to both HDR and SSA pathways. With a functional complementation assay I developed, I have shown that specific TPR regions are critical for XAB2 functions in HR. Overall, my research demonstrates that XAB2 protein has a key role in the 5’-3’ end resection step of HR, and its function in HR requires specific sets of its TPR regions.