UV-sensitive syndrome (UVSS) and Cockayne syndrome (CS) are human disorders caused by CSA or CSB gene mutations; both conditions cause defective transcription-coupled repair and photosensitivity. Patients with CS also display neurological and developmental abnormalities and dramatic premature aging, and their cells are hypersensitive to oxidative stress. We report CSA/CSB-dependent depletion of the mitochondrial DNA polymerase-γ catalytic subunit (POLG1), due to HTRA3 serine protease accumulation in CS, but not in UVsS or control fibroblasts. Inhibition of serine proteases restored physiological POLG1 levels in either CS fibroblasts and in CSB-silenced cells. Moreover, patient-derived CS cells displayed greater nitroso-redox imbalance than UVSS cells. Scavengers of reactive oxygen species and peroxynitrite normalized HTRA3 and POLG1 levels in CS cells, and notably, increased mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation, which was altered in CS cells. These data reveal critical deregulation of proteases potentially linked to progeroid phenotypes in CS, and our results suggest rescue strategies as a therapeutic option.