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J Cell Biol. 2012 Aug 6;198(3):273-5. doi: 10.1083/jcb.201207063.

The ATM protein: the importance of being active.

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  • 1The David and Inez Myers Laboratory for Cancer Genetics, Department of Human Molecular Genetics and Biochemistry, Sackler School of Medicine, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv 69978, Israel.


The ataxia telangiectasia mutated (ATM) protein kinase regulates the cellular response to deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) double-strand breaks by phosphorylating numerous players in the extensive DNA damage response network. Two papers in this issue (Daniel et al. 2012. J. Cell Biol.; Yamamoto et al. 2012. J. Cell Biol. strikingly show that, in mice, the presence of a catalytically inactive version of ATM is embryonically lethal. This is surprising because mice completely lacking ATM have a much more moderate phenotype. The findings impact on basic cancer research and cancer therapeutics.

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