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Biochim Biophys Acta. 2001 Nov 30;1552(1):27-37.

Poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase: a guardian angel protecting the genome and suppressing tumorigenesis.

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International Agency for Research on Cancer, 150 cours Albert-Thomas, 69008 Lyon, France.


Poly(ADP-ribosyl)ation is an immediate cellular response to DNA damage generated either exogenously or endogenously. This post-translational modification is catalyzed by poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP, PARP-1, EC It is proposed that this protein plays a multifunctional role in many cellular processes, including DNA repair, recombination, cell proliferation and death, as well as genomic stability. Chemical inhibitors of the enzyme, dominant negative or null mutations of PARP-1 cause a high degree of genomic instability in cells. Inhibition of PARP activity by chemical inhibitors renders mice or rats susceptible to carcinogenic agents in various tumor models, indicating a role for PARP-1 in suppressing tumorigenesis. Despite the above observations, PARP-1 knockout mice are generally not prone to the development of tumors. An enhanced tumor development was observed, however, when the PARP-1 null mutation was introduced into severely compromised immune-deficient mice (a mutation in DNA-dependent protein kinase) or mice lacking other DNA repair or chromosomal guardian molecules, such as p53 or Ku80. These studies indicate that PARP-1 functions as a cofactor to suppress tumorigenesis via its role in stabilization of the genome, and/or by interacting with other DNA strand break-sensing molecules. Studies using PARP-1 mutants and chemical inhibitors have started to shed light on the role of this protein and of the specific protein post-translational modification in the control of genomic stability and hence its involvement in cancer.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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