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Int J Biochem Cell Biol. 2009 Jun;41(6):1249-53. doi: 10.1016/j.biocel.2008.12.013. Epub 2008 Dec 27.

Double functions for the Mre11 complex during DNA double-strand break repair and replication.

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  • 1Institut Curie, Centre de Recherche, UMR7147 CNRS-Institut Curie-Universit√© P. and M. Curie, 26 rue d'Ulm, 75248, Paris Cedex 05, France. valerie.borde@curie.fr


Defining the factors that lead to genomic instability is one of the most important fields in cancer biology. DNA damage can arise from exogenous sources or as a result of normal cellular metabolism. Regardless of the cause, when damaged DNA is not properly repaired the genome acquires mutation(s). Under normal circumstances, to prevent such chromosome instability the cell activates the checkpoint response, which inhibits cell cycle progression until DNA repair is complete. The Mre11 complex is formed by three components: Mre11, Rad50, and Nbs1/Xrs2 and is involved in the signaling pathways that lead to both checkpoint activation and DNA repair. In response to DNA damage two functions of the complex will be discussed, one involves its role in initiating kinase activation and the second involves its ability to tether and link DNA strands. This review will highlight the functions of the Mre11 complex during the process of DNA double strand break recognition and repair, and during the process of replication. Understanding how the Mre11 complex is working at the molecular level is important for understanding why disruptions in components of the complex lead to genomic instability and cancer predisposition syndromes in humans.

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