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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1999 Sep 14;96(19):10770-5.

Deletion of Ku86 causes early onset of senescence in mice.

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  • 1Department of Pathology, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX 77030, USA.


DNA double-strand breaks formed during the assembly of antigen receptors or after exposure to ionizing radiation are repaired by proteins important for nonhomologous end joining that include Ku86, Ku70, DNA-PK(CS), Xrcc4, and DNA ligase IV. Here we show that ku86-mutant mice, compared with control littermates, prematurely exhibited age-specific changes characteristic of senescence that include osteopenia, atrophic skin, hepatocellular degeneration, hepatocellular inclusions, hepatic hyperplastic foci, and age-specific mortality. Cancer and likely sepsis (indicated by reactive immune responses) partly contributed to age-specific mortality for both cohorts, and both conditions occurred earlier in ku86(-/-) mice. These data indicate that Ku86-dependent chromosomal metabolism is important for determining the onset of age-specific changes characteristic of senescence in mice.

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