The recent discovery of numerous human short open reading frame (sORF)-encoded polypeptides (SEPs) has raised important questions about the functional roles of these molecules in cells. Here, we show that a 69-amino acid SEP, MRI-2, physically interacts with the Ku heterodimer to stimulate DNA double-strand break ligation via nonhomologous end joining. The characterization of MRI-2 suggests that this SEP may participate in DNA repair and underscores the potential of SEPs to serve important biological functions in mammalian cells.
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