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The eukaryotic Pso2/Snm1/Artemis proteins and their function as genomic and cellular caretakers.

Brazilian Journal of Medical and Biological Research

DNA Repair, physiology, DNA-Binding Proteins, genetics, Endodeoxyribonucleases, Endonucleases, Eukaryotic Cells, chemistry, Genomic Instability, Humans, Nuclear Proteins, Saccharomyces cerevisiae Proteins, Animals

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      DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs) represent a major threat to the genomic stability of eukaryotic cells. DNA repair mechanisms such as non-homologous end joining (NHEJ) are responsible for the maintenance of eukaryotic genomes. Dysfunction of one or more of the many protein complexes that function in NHEJ can lead to sensitivity to DNA damaging agents, apoptosis, genomic instability, and severe combined immunodeficiency. One protein, Pso2p, was shown to participate in the repair of DSBs induced by DNA inter-strand cross-linking (ICL) agents such as cisplatin, nitrogen mustard or photo-activated bi-functional psoralens. The molecular function of Pso2p in DNA repair is unknown, but yeast and mammalian cell line mutants for PSO2 show the same cellular responses as strains with defects in NHEJ, e.g., sensitivity to ICLs and apoptosis. The Pso2p human homologue Artemis participates in V(D)J recombination. Mutations in Artemis induce a variety of immunological deficiencies, a predisposition to lymphomas, and an increase in chromosomal aberrations. In order to better understand the role of Pso2p in the repair of DSBs generated as repair intermediates of ICLs, an in silico approach was used to characterize the catalytic domain of Pso2p, which led to identification of novel Pso2p homologues in other organisms. Moreover, we found the catalytic core of Pso2p fused to different domains. In plants, a specific ATP-dependent DNA ligase I contains the catalytic core of Pso2p, constituting a new DNA ligase family, which was named LIG6. The possible functions of Pso2p/Artemis/Lig6p in NHEJ and V(D)J recombination and in other cellular metabolic reactions are discussed.

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