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PLoS One. 2012;7(11):e49245. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0049245. Epub 2012 Nov 7.

Nucleolin participates in DNA double-strand break-induced damage response through MDC1-dependent pathway.

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  • 1Department of Genome Repair Dynamics, Radiation Biology Center, Kyoto University, Kyoto, Japan.


H2AX is an important factor for chromatin remodeling to facilitate accumulation of DNA damage-related proteins at DNA double-strand break (DSB) sites. In order to further understand the role of H2AX in the DNA damage response (DDR), we attempted to identify H2AX-interacting proteins by proteomics analysis. As a result, we identified nucleolin as one of candidates. Here, we show a novel role of a major nucleolar protein, nucleolin, in DDR. Nucleolin interacted with γ-H2AX and accumulated to laser micro-irradiated DSB damage sites. Chromatin Immunoprecipitation assay also displayed the accumulation of nucleolin around DSB sites. Nucleolin-depleted cells exhibited repression of both ATM-dependent phosphorylation following exposure to γ-ray and subsequent cell cycle checkpoint activation. Furthermore, nucleolin-knockdown reduced HR and NHEJ activity and showed decrease in IR-induced chromatin accumulation of HR/NHEJ factors, agreeing with the delayed kinetics of γ-H2AX focus. Moreover, nucleolin-knockdown decreased MDC1-related events such as focus formation of 53 BP1, RNF168, phosphorylated ATM, and H2A ubiquitination. Nucleolin also showed FACT-like activity for DSB damage-induced histone eviction from chromatin. Taken together, nucleolin could promote both ATM-dependent cell cycle checkpoint and DSB repair by functioning in an MDC1-related pathway through its FACT-like function.

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