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Oncogene. 2002 Dec 16;21(58):8967-80.

Nijmegen breakage syndrome gene, NBS1, and molecular links to factors for genome stability.

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Department of Environmental Sciences, Ibaraki University, Mito, Ibaraki 310-8512, Japan.


DNA double-strand breaks represent the most potentially serious damage to a genome and hence, at least two pathways of DNA repair have evolved; namely, homologous recombination repair and non-homologous end joining. Defects in both rejoining processes result in genomic instability including chromosome rearrangements, LOH and gene mutations, which may lead to development of malignancies. Nijmegen breakage syndrome is a recessive genetic disorder, characterized by elevated sensitivity to ionizing radiation that induces double-strand breaks, and high frequency of malignancies. NBS1, the product of the gene underlying the disease, forms a multimeric complex with hMRE11/hRAD50 nuclease and recruits them to the vicinity of sites of DNA damage by direct binding to phosphorylated histone H2AX. The combination of the highly-conserved NBS1 forkhead associated domain and BRCA1 C-terminus domain has a crucial role for recognition of damaged sites. Thereafter, the NBS1-complex proceeds to rejoin double-strand breaks predominantly by homologous recombination repair in vertebrates. This process collaborates with cell-cycle checkpoints at S and G2 phase to facilitate DNA repair. NBS1 is also associated with telomere maintenance and DNA replication. Based on recent knowledge regarding NBS1, we propose here a two-step binding mechanism for damage recognition by repair proteins, and describe the molecular links to factors for genome stability.

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