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Genes Dev. 2004 Jun 15;18(12):1423-38. Epub 2004 Jun 2.

Phosphorylation of SMC1 is a critical downstream event in the ATM-NBS1-BRCA1 pathway.

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Department of Hematology-Oncology, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, Memphis, Tennessee 38018, USA.


The ATM protein kinase is activated by intermolecular autophosphorylation in response to DNA damage and initiates cellular signaling pathways that facilitate cell survival and reduce chromosomal breakage. Here, we show that NBS1 and BRCA1 are required for the recruitment of previously activated ATM to the sites of DNA breaks after ionizing irradiation, and that this recruitment is required for the phosphorylation of SMC1 by ATM. To explore the functional importance of SMC1 phosphorylation, murine cells were generated, in which the two damage-induced phosphorylation sites in SMC1 are mutated. Although these cells demonstrate normal phosphorylation and focus formation of ATM, NBS1, and BRCA1 proteins after IR, they exhibit a defective S-phase checkpoint, decreased survival, and increased chromosomal aberrations after DNA damage. These observations suggest that many of the abnormal stress responses seen in cells lacking ATM, NBS1, or BRCA1 result from a failure of ATM migration to sites of DNA breaks and a resultant lack of SMC1 phosphorylation.

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