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Nucleic Acids Res. 1998 Apr 1;26(7):1551-9.

Interaction of Ku protein and DNA-dependent protein kinase catalytic subunit with nucleic acids.

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  • 1Program in Gene Regulation, Institute of Molecular Medicine and Genetics, Room CB-2803, Medical College of Georgia, 1120 15th Street, Augusta, GA 30912, USA. dynan@immag.mcg.edu


The Ku protein-DNA-dependent protein kinase system is one of the major pathways by which cells of higher eukaryotes respond to double-strand DNA breaks. The components of the system are evolutionarily conserved and homologs are known from a number of organisms. The Ku protein component binds directly to DNA ends and may help align them for ligation. Binding of Ku protein to DNA also nucleates formation of an active enzyme complex containing the DNA-dependent protein kinase catalytic subunit (DNA-PKcs). The interaction between Ku protein, DNA-PKcs and nucleic acids has been extensively investigated. This review summarizes the results of these biochemical investigations and relates them to recent molecular genetic studies that reveal highly characteristic repair and recombination defects in mutant cells lacking Ku protein or DNA-PKcs.

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