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      The Mechanism of Double-Strand DNA Break Repair by the Nonhomologous DNA End-Joining Pathway

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      Annual Review of Biochemistry
      Annual Reviews

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          Abstract

          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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          Hydroperoxide metabolism in mammalian organs.

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            A Microhomology-Mediated Break-Induced Replication Model for the Origin of Human Copy Number Variation

            Chromosome structural changes with nonrecurrent endpoints associated with genomic disorders offer windows into the mechanism of origin of copy number variation (CNV). A recent report of nonrecurrent duplications associated with Pelizaeus-Merzbacher disease identified three distinctive characteristics. First, the majority of events can be seen to be complex, showing discontinuous duplications mixed with deletions, inverted duplications, and triplications. Second, junctions at endpoints show microhomology of 2–5 base pairs (bp). Third, endpoints occur near pre-existing low copy repeats (LCRs). Using these observations and evidence from DNA repair in other organisms, we derive a model of microhomology-mediated break-induced replication (MMBIR) for the origin of CNV and, ultimately, of LCRs. We propose that breakage of replication forks in stressed cells that are deficient in homologous recombination induces an aberrant repair process with features of break-induced replication (BIR). Under these circumstances, single-strand 3′ tails from broken replication forks will anneal with microhomology on any single-stranded DNA nearby, priming low-processivity polymerization with multiple template switches generating complex rearrangements, and eventual re-establishment of processive replication.
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              ATM and DNA-PK function redundantly to phosphorylate H2AX after exposure to ionizing radiation.

              H2AX phosphorylation is an early step in the response to DNA damage. It is widely accepted that ATM (ataxia telangiectasia mutated protein) phosphorylates H2AX in response to DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs). Whether DNA-dependent protein kinase (DNA-PK) plays any role in this response is unclear. Here, we show that H2AX phosphorylation after exposure to ionizing radiation (IR) occurs to similar extents in human fibroblasts and in mouse embryo fibroblasts lacking either DNA-PK or ATM but is ablated in ATM-deficient cells treated with LY294002, a drug that specifically inhibits DNA-PK. Additionally, we show that inactivation of both DNA-PK and ATM is required to ablate IR-induced H2AX phosphorylation in chicken cells. We confirm that H2AX phosphorylation induced by DSBs in nonreplicating cells is ATR (ataxia telangiectasia and Rad3-related protein) independent. Taken together, we conclude that under most normal growth conditions, IR-induced H2AX phosphorylation can be carried out by ATM and DNA-PK in a redundant, overlapping manner. In contrast, DNA-PK cannot phosphorylate other proteins involved in the checkpoint response, including chromatin-associated Rad17. However, by phosphorylating H2AX, DNA-PK can contribute to the presence of the damage response proteins MDC1 and 53BP1 at the site of the DSB.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Annual Review of Biochemistry
                Annu. Rev. Biochem.
                Annual Reviews
                0066-4154
                1545-4509
                June 07 2010
                June 07 2010
                : 79
                : 1
                : 181-211
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center, Departments of Pathology, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Molecular Microbiology and Immunology, and Biological Sciences, University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine, Los Angeles, California 90089; email:
                Article
                10.1146/annurev.biochem.052308.093131
                3079308
                20192759
                a10718d0-17db-4f62-a2b0-b728ff08d4d9
                © 2010
                History

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