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      Activation of ATM and Chk2 kinases in relation to the amount of DNA strand breaks.

      Oncogene

      Tumor Suppressor Proteins, Ataxia Telangiectasia Mutated Proteins, Cell Cycle Proteins, Cell Line, Cell Nucleus, genetics, Checkpoint Kinase 2, DNA, DNA Damage, DNA, Single-Stranded, DNA-Binding Proteins, Humans, Lymphocytes, Phosphorylation, Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases, metabolism, Substrate Specificity

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          Abstract

          The diverse checkpoint responses to DNA damage may reflect differential sensitivities by molecular components of the damage-signalling network to the type and amount of lesions. Here, we determined the kinetics of activation of the checkpoint kinases ATM and Chk2 (the latter substrate of ATM) in relation to the initial yield of genomic DNA single-strand (SSBs) and double-strand breaks (DSBs). We show that doses of gamma-radiation (IR) as low as 0.25 Gy, which generate vast numbers of SSBs but only a few DSBs per cell (<8), promptly activate ATM kinase and induce the phosphorylation of the ATM substrates p53-Ser15, Nbs1-Ser343 and Chk2-Thr68. The full activation of Chk2 kinase, however, is triggered by treatments inflicting >19 DSBs per cell (e.g. 1 Gy), which cause Chk2 autophosphorylation on Thr387, Chk2-dependent accumulation of p21waf1 and checkpoint arrest in the S phase. Our results indicate that, in contrast to ATM, Chk2 activity is triggered by a greater number of DSBs, implying that, below a certain threshold level of lesions (<19 DSBs), DNA repair can occur through ATM, without enforcing Chk2-dependent checkpoints.

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          Most cited references 46

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          DNA double-strand breaks: signaling, repair and the cancer connection.

          To ensure the high-fidelity transmission of genetic information, cells have evolved mechanisms to monitor genome integrity. Cells respond to DNA damage by activating a complex DNA-damage-response pathway that includes cell-cycle arrest, the transcriptional and post-transcriptional activation of a subset of genes including those associated with DNA repair, and, under some circumstances, the triggering of programmed cell death. An inability to respond properly to, or to repair, DNA damage leads to genetic instability, which in turn may enhance the rate of cancer development. Indeed, it is becoming increasingly clear that deficiencies in DNA-damage signaling and repair pathways are fundamental to the etiology of most, if not all, human cancers. Here we describe recent progress in our understanding of how cells detect and signal the presence and repair of one particularly important form of DNA damage induced by ionizing radiation-the DNA double-strand break (DSB). Moreover, we discuss how tumor suppressor proteins such as p53, ATM, Brca1 and Brca2 have been linked to such pathways, and how accumulating evidence is connecting deficiencies in cellular responses to DNA DSBs with tumorigenesis.
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            ATM and related protein kinases: safeguarding genome integrity.

             Yosef Shiloh (2003)
            Maintenance of genome stability is essential for avoiding the passage to neoplasia. The DNA-damage response--a cornerstone of genome stability--occurs by a swift transduction of the DNA-damage signal to many cellular pathways. A prime example is the cellular response to DNA double-strand breaks, which activate the ATM protein kinase that, in turn, modulates numerous signalling pathways. ATM mutations lead to the cancer-predisposing genetic disorder ataxia-telangiectasia (A-T). Understanding ATM's mode of action provides new insights into the association between defective responses to DNA damage and cancer, and brings us closer to resolving the issue of cancer predisposition in some A-T carriers.
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              Evidence for a lack of DNA double-strand break repair in human cells exposed to very low x-ray doses.

              DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs) are generally accepted to be the most biologically significant lesion by which ionizing radiation causes cancer and hereditary disease. However, no information on the induction and processing of DSBs after physiologically relevant radiation doses is available. Many of the methods used to measure DSB repair inadvertently introduce this form of damage as part of the methodology, and hence are limited in their sensitivity. Here we present evidence that foci of gamma-H2AX (a phosphorylated histone), detected by immunofluorescence, are quantitatively the same as DSBs and are capable of quantifying the repair of individual DSBs. This finding allows the investigation of DSB repair after radiation doses as low as 1 mGy, an improvement by several orders of magnitude over current methods. Surprisingly, DSBs induced in cultures of nondividing primary human fibroblasts by very low radiation doses (approximately 1 mGy) remain unrepaired for many days, in strong contrast to efficient DSB repair that is observed at higher doses. However, the level of DSBs in irradiated cultures decreases to that of unirradiated cell cultures if the cells are allowed to proliferate after irradiation, and we present evidence that this effect may be caused by an elimination of the cells carrying unrepaired DSBs. The results presented are in contrast to current models of risk assessment that assume that cellular responses are equally efficient at low and high doses, and provide the opportunity to employ gamma-H2AX foci formation as a direct biomarker for human exposure to low quantities of ionizing radiation.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                10.1038/sj.onc.1207986
                15361830

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