Transcription-Coupled Repair (TCR) is a DNA repair mechanism which operates in tandem with transcription.
Nucleotide excision repair (NER) is a mechanism to recognize and repair bulky DNA damage caused by compounds, environmental carcinogens, and exposure to UV-light. In humans hereditary defects in the NER pathway are linked to at least three diseases: xeroderma pigmentosum (XP), Cockayne syndrome (CS), and trichothiodystrophy (TTD). The repair of damaged DNA involves at least 30 polypeptides within two different sub-pathways of NER known as transcription-coupled repair (TCR-NER) and global genome repair (GGR-NER). TCR refers to the expedited repair of lesions located in the actively transcribed strand of genes by RNA polymerase II (RNAP II). In GGR-NER the first step of damage recognition involves XPC-hHR23B complex together with XPE complex (in prokaryotes, uvrAB complex). The next steps of GGR-NER and TCR-NER are similar.
Genes are copied from DNA to make messenger RNA to instruct protein synthesis by RNA polymerase II. When RNA polymerase finds a lesion in the DNA, like those caused by UV light it stops and the gene is not transcribed. TCR is associated with RNA polymerase II, and the stalled RNAP is the trigger for TCR both in prokaryotes and eukaryotes.
TCR also exists in bacteria, and is mediated by the TRCF (Mfd) protein. TRCF is an SF2 ATPase that uses ATP hydrolysis to translocate on dsDNA upstream of the transcription bubble and forward translocate RNA Polymerase, thus initiating dissociation of the RNA Polymerase ternary elongation complex. TRCF also recruits the Uvr(A)BC nucleotide excision repair machinery by direct physical interaction with the UvrA subunit.