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J Biol Chem. 2001 Aug 3;276(31):29282-91. Epub 2001 May 25.

Telomeric protein Pin2/TRF1 as an important ATM target in response to double strand DNA breaks.

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  • 1Cancer Biology Program, Division of Hematology/Oncology, Department of Medicine, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 02215, USA.


ATM mutations are responsible for the genetic disease ataxia-telangiectasia (A-T). ATM encodes a protein kinase that is activated by ionizing radiation-induced double strand DNA breaks. Cells derived from A-T patients show many abnormalities, including accelerated telomere loss and hypersensitivity to ionizing radiation; they enter into mitosis and apoptosis after DNA damage. Pin2 was originally identified as a protein involved in G(2)/M regulation and is almost identical to TRF1, a telomeric protein that negatively regulates telomere elongation. Pin2 and TRF1, probably encoded by the same gene, PIN2/TRF1, are regulated during the cell cycle. Furthermore, up-regulation of Pin2 or TRF1 induces mitotic entry and apoptosis, a phenotype similar to that of A-T cells after DNA damage. These results suggest that ATM may regulate the function of Pin2/TRF1, but their exact relationship remains unknown. Here we show that Pin2/TRF1 coimmunoprecipitated with ATM, and its phosphorylation was increased in an ATM-dependent manner by ionizing DNA damage. Furthermore, activated ATM directly phosphorylated Pin2/TRF1 preferentially on the conserved Ser(219)-Gln site in vitro and in vivo. The biological significance of this phosphorylation is substantiated by functional analyses of the phosphorylation site mutants. Although expression of Pin2 and its mutants has no detectable effect on telomere length in transient transfection, a Pin2 mutant refractory to ATM phosphorylation on Ser(219) potently induces mitotic entry and apoptosis and increases radiation hypersensitivity of A-T cells. In contrast, Pin2 mutants mimicking ATM phosphorylation on Ser(219) completely fail to induce apoptosis and also reduce radiation hypersensitivity of A-T cells. Interestingly, the phenotype of the phosphorylation-mimicking mutants is the same as that which resulted from inhibition of endogenous Pin2/TRF1 in A-T cells by its dominant-negative mutants. These results demonstrate for the first time that ATM interacts with and phosphorylates Pin2/TRF1 and suggest that Pin2/TRF1 may be involved in the cellular response to double strand DNA breaks.

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