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Biochem J. 2008 Oct 15;415(2):297-307. doi: 10.1042/BJ20081135.

Identification and characterization of FUS/TLS as a new target of ATM.

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  • 1MRC Protein Phosphorylation Unit, Sir James Black Centre, University of Dundee, Dundee DD1 5EH, UK.


ATM (ataxia-telangiectasia mutated), ATR (ATM- and Rad3-related) and DNA-PK (DNA-dependent protein kinase), important regulators of genome stability, belong to the PIKK (phosphoinositide 3-kinase-like kinase) family of protein kinases. In the present study, DNA-affinity chromatography was used to identify DNA-binding proteins phosphorylated by these kinases. This resulted in the identification of FUS (fused in sarcoma)/TLS (translocated in liposarcoma) as an in vitro target of the PIKKs. FUS is a member of the Ewing's sarcoma family of proteins that appears to play a role in regulating genome stability, since mice lacking FUS show chromosomal instability and defects in meiosis. The residues in FUS that are phosphorylated in vitro and in vivo were identified, and phospho-specific antibodies were generated to demonstrate that FUS becomes phosphorylated at Ser(42) in vivo, primarily in response to agents that cause DSBs (double-strand breaks). DSB-induced FUS phosphorylation in vivo at Ser(42) requires ATM and not DNA-PK. Although Ser(42) is retained in the oncogenic FUS-CHOP [C/EBP (CCAAT/enhancer-binding protein)-homologous protein 10] fusion generated by a t(12;16)(q13;p11) chromosomal translocation, Ser(42) in FUS-CHOP is not phosphorylated after DNA damage. These results identify FUS as a new target of the ATM-signalling pathway and strengthen the notion that FUS regulates genome stability.

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