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Nucleic Acids Res. 2002 Sep 1;30(17):3653-61.

Displacement of DNA-PKcs from DNA ends by the Werner syndrome protein.

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Department of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology, Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California, 2011 Zonal Avenue, HMR 509, Los Angeles, CA 90089, USA.


The DNA-dependent protein kinase (DNA-PK) complex, which is composed of a DNA-dependent kinase subunit (DNA-PKcs) and the Ku70/80 heterodimer, is involved in DNA double-strand break repair by non-homologous end joining (NHEJ). Ku70/80 interacts with the Werner syndrome protein (WRN) and stimulates WRN exonuclease activity. To investigate a possible function of WRN in NHEJ, we have examined the relationship between DNA-PKcs, Ku and WRN. First, we showed that WRN forms a complex with DNA-PKcs and Ku in solution. Next, we determined whether this complex assembles on DNA ends. Interestingly, the addition of WRN to a Ku:DNA-PKcs:DNA complex results in the displacement of DNA-PKcs from the DNA, indicating that the triple complex WRN:Ku:DNA-PKcs cannot form on DNA ends. The displacement of DNA-PKcs from DNA requires the N- and C-terminal regions of WRN, both of which make direct contact with the Ku70/80 heterodimer. Moreover, exonuclease assays indicate that DNA-PKcs does not protect DNA from the nucleolytic action of WRN. These results suggest that WRN may influence the mechanism by which DNA ends are processed.

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