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Oncogene. 2002 Jan 21;21(4):611-8.

ATM function and telomere stability.

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Center for Radiological Research, College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University, New York, New York, NY 10032, USA.


Accumulation of DNA damage has been associated with the onset of senescence and predisposition to cancer. The gene responsible for ataxia telangiectasia (A-T) is ATM (ataxia-telangiectasia mutant), a master controller of cellular pathways and networks, orchestrating the responses to a specific type of DNA damage: the double strand break. Based on the homology of the human ATM gene to the TEL1, MEC1 and rad3 genes of yeast, it has now been demonstrated that mutations in ATM lead to defective telomere maintenance in mammalian cells. While ATM has both nuclear and cytoplasmic functions, this review will focus on its roles in telomere metabolism and how ATM and telomeres serve as controllers of cellular responses to DNA damage.

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