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      Fidelity of end joining in mammalian episomes and the impact of Metnase on joint processing

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          Abstract

          Background

          Double Stranded Breaks (DSBs) are the most serious form of DNA damage and are repaired via homologous recombination repair (HRR) or non-homologous end joining (NHEJ). NHEJ predominates in mammalian cells at most stages of the cell cycle, and it is viewed as ‘error-prone’, although this notion has not been sufficiently challenged due to shortcomings of many current systems. Multi-copy episomes provide a large pool of genetic material where repair can be studied, as repaired plasmids can be back-cloned into bacteria and characterized for sequence alterations. Here, we used EBV-based episomes carrying 3 resistance marker genes in repair studies where a single DSB is generated with virally-encoded HO endonuclease cleaving rapidly at high efficiency for a brief time post-infection. We employed PCR and Southern blot to follow the kinetics of repair and formation of processing intermediates, and replica plating to screen for plasmids with altered joints resulting in loss of chloramphenicol resistance. Further, we employed this system to study the role of Metnase. Metnase is only found in humans and primates and is a key component of the NHEJ pathway, but its function is not fully characterized in intact cells.

          Results

          We found that repair of episomes by end-joining was highly accurate in 293 T cells that lack Metnase. Less than 10% of the rescued plasmids showed deletions. Instead, HEK293 cells (that do express Metnase) or 293 T transfected with Metnase revealed a large number of rescued plasmids with altered repaired joint, typically in the form of large deletions. Moreover, quantitative PCR and Southern blotting revealed less accurately repaired plasmids in Metnase expressing cells.

          Conclusions

          Our careful re-examination of fidelity of NHEJ repair in mammalian cells carrying a 3′ cohesive overhang at the ends revealed that the repair is efficient and highly accurate, and predominant over HRR. However, the background of the cells is important in establishing accuracy; with human cells perhaps surprisingly much more prone to generate deletions at the repaired junctions, if/when Metnase is abundantly expressed.

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          Most cited references 52

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          The DNA-damage response in human biology and disease.

          The prime objective for every life form is to deliver its genetic material, intact and unchanged, to the next generation. This must be achieved despite constant assaults by endogenous and environmental agents on the DNA. To counter this threat, life has evolved several systems to detect DNA damage, signal its presence and mediate its repair. Such responses, which have an impact on a wide range of cellular events, are biologically significant because they prevent diverse human diseases. Our improving understanding of DNA-damage responses is providing new avenues for disease management.
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            The DNA damage response: making it safe to play with knives.

            Damage to our genetic material is an ongoing threat to both our ability to faithfully transmit genetic information to our offspring as well as our own survival. To respond to these threats, eukaryotes have evolved the DNA damage response (DDR). The DDR is a complex signal transduction pathway that has the ability to sense DNA damage and transduce this information to the cell to influence cellular responses to DNA damage. Cells possess an arsenal of enzymatic tools capable of remodeling and repairing DNA; however, their activities must be tightly regulated in a temporal, spatial, and DNA lesion-appropriate fashion to optimize repair and prevent unnecessary and potentially deleterious alterations in the structure of DNA during normal cellular processes. This review will focus on how the DDR controls DNA repair and the phenotypic consequences of defects in these critical regulatory functions in mammals. Copyright © 2010 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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              The mechanism of double-strand DNA break repair by the nonhomologous DNA end-joining pathway.

              Double-strand DNA breaks are common events in eukaryotic cells, and there are two major pathways for repairing them: homologous recombination (HR) and nonhomologous DNA end joining (NHEJ). The various causes of double-strand breaks (DSBs) result in a diverse chemistry of DNA ends that must be repaired. Across NHEJ evolution, the enzymes of the NHEJ pathway exhibit a remarkable degree of structural tolerance in the range of DNA end substrate configurations upon which they can act. In vertebrate cells, the nuclease, DNA polymerases, and ligase of NHEJ are the most mechanistically flexible and multifunctional enzymes in each of their classes. Unlike repair pathways for more defined lesions, NHEJ repair enzymes act iteratively, act in any order, and can function independently of one another at each of the two DNA ends being joined. NHEJ is critical not only for the repair of pathologic DSBs as in chromosomal translocations, but also for the repair of physiologic DSBs created during variable (diversity) joining [V(D)J] recombination and class switch recombination (CSR). Therefore, patients lacking normal NHEJ are not only sensitive to ionizing radiation (IR), but also severely immunodeficient.
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Journal
                BMC Mol Biol
                BMC Mol. Biol
                BMC Molecular Biology
                BioMed Central
                1471-2199
                2014
                22 March 2014
                : 15
                : 6
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center, 1501 Kings Highway, Shreveport, LA 71130, USA
                [2 ]Department of Medicine, College of Medicine, University of Florida & Shands, Gainesville, FL 32610-0277, USA
                Article
                1471-2199-15-6
                10.1186/1471-2199-15-6
                3998112
                24655462
                Copyright © 2014 Rath et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

                This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly credited. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.

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                Research Article

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