©2016. This manuscript version is made available under the CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 license


MutLα is a key component of the DNA mismatch repair system in eukaryotes. The DNA mismatch repair system has several genetic stabilization functions. Of these functions, DNA mismatch repair is the major one. The loss of MutLα abolishes DNA mismatch repair, thereby predisposing humans to cancer. MutLα has an endonuclease activity that is required for DNA mismatch repair. The endonuclease activity of MutLα depends on the DQHA(X)2E(X)4E motif which is a part of the active site of the nuclease. This motif is also present in many bacterial MutL and eukaryotic MutLγ proteins, DNA mismatch repair system factors that are homologous to MutLα. Recent studies have shown that yeast MutLγ and several MutL proteins containing the DQHA(X)2E(X)4E motif possess endonuclease activities. Here, we review the endonuclease activities of MutLα and its homologs in the context of DNA mismatch repair.