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Mol Cell Biol. 2006 Oct;26(20):7520-8. Epub 2006 Aug 14.

ATR-dependent phosphorylation of DNA-dependent protein kinase catalytic subunit in response to UV-induced replication stress.

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  • 1Department of Radiation Oncology, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas, 2201 Inwood Rd., NC7.502, Dallas, TX 75390-9187, USA.


Phosphorylation of the DNA-dependent protein kinase catalytic subunit (DNA-PKcs) upon ionizing radiation (IR) is essential for cellular radioresistance and nonhomologous-end-joining-mediated DNA double-strand break repair. In addition to IR induction, we have previously shown that DNA-PKcs phosphorylation is increased upon camptothecin treatment, which induces replication stress and replication-associated double-strand breaks. To clarify the involvement of DNA-PKcs in this process, we analyzed DNA-PKcs phosphorylation in response to UV irradiation, which causes replication stress and activates ATR (ATM-Rad3-related)/ATM (ataxia-telangiectasia mutated) kinases in a replication-dependent manner. Upon UV irradiation, we observed a rapid DNA-PKcs phosphorylation at T2609 and T2647, but not at S2056, distinct from that induced by IR. UV-induced DNA-PKcs phosphorylation occurs specifically only in replicating cells and is dependent on ATR kinase. Inhibition of ATR activity via caffeine, a dominant-negative kinase-dead mutant, or RNA interference led to the attenuation of UV-induced DNA-PKcs phosphorylation. Furthermore, DNA-PKcs associates with ATR in vivo and is phosphorylated by ATR in vitro, suggesting that DNA-PKcs could be the direct downstream target of ATR. Taken together, these results strongly suggest that DNA-PKcs is required for the cellular response to replication stress and might play an important role in the repair of stalled replication forks.

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