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Background: The protein encoded by this gene is the 80-kilodalton subunit of the Ku heterodimer protein which is also known as ATP-dependant DNA helicase II or DNA repair protein XRCC5. Ku is the DNA-binding component of the DNA-dependent protein kinase, and it functions together with the DNA ligase IV-XRCC4 complex in the repair of DNA double-strand break by non-homologous end joining and the completion of V(D)J recombination events. This gene functionally complements Chinese hamster xrs-6, a mutant defective in DNA double-strand break repair and in ability to undergo V(D)J recombination. A rare microsatellite polymorphism in this gene is associated with cancer in patients of varying radiosensitivity.