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Nucleotide excision repair (NER) consists of global genomic NER (GG-NER) and transcription coupled NER (TC-NER) subpathways. In eukaryotic cells, genomic DNA is wrapped around histone octamers (an H3-H4 tetramer and two H2A-H2B dimers) to form nucleosomes, which are well known to profoundly inhibit the access of NER proteins. Through unbiased screening of histone H4 residues in the nucleosomal LRS (loss of ribosomal DNA-silencing) domain, we identified 24 mutations that enhance or decrease UV sensitivity of Saccharomyces cerevisiae cells. The histone H4 H75E mutation, which is largely embedded in the nucleosome and interacts with histone H2B, significantly attenuates GG-NER and Rad26-independent TC-NER but does not affect TC-NER in the presence of Rad26. All the other histone H4 mutations, except for T73F and T73Y that mildly attenuate GG-NER, do not substantially affect GG-NER or TC-NER. The attenuation of GG-NER and Rad26-independent TC-NER by the H4H75E mutation is not due to decreased chromatin accessibility, impaired methylation of histone H3 K79 that is at the center of the LRS domain, or lowered expression of NER proteins. Instead, the attenuation is at least in part due to impaired recruitment of Rad4, the key lesion recognition and verification protein, to chromatin following induction of DNA lesions.

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