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J Biol Chem. 2004 Dec 31;279(53):55117-26. Epub 2004 Oct 21.

Involvement of poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase-1 and XRCC1/DNA ligase III in an alternative route for DNA double-strand breaks rejoining.

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Institut de Pharmacologie et de Biologie Structurale, CNRS UMR 5089, 205 route de Narbonne, F-31077 Toulouse Cedex, France.


The efficient repair of DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs) is critical for the maintenance of genomic integrity. In mammalian cells, the nonhomologous end-joining process that represents the predominant repair pathway relies on the DNA-dependent protein kinase (DNA-PK) and the XRCC4-DNA ligase IV complex. Nonetheless, several in vitro and in vivo results indicate that mammalian cells use more than a single end-joining mechanism. While searching for a DNA-PK-independent end-joining activity, we found that the pretreatment of DNA-PK-proficient and -deficient rodent cells with an inhibitor of the poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase-1 enzyme (PARP-1) led to increased cytotoxicity of the highly efficient DNA double-strand breaking compound calicheamicin gamma1. In addition, the repair kinetics of the DSBs induced by calicheamicin gamma1 was delayed both in PARP-1-proficient cells pretreated with the PARP-1 inhibitor and in PARP-1-deficient cells. In order to get new insights into the mechanism of an alternative route for DSBs repair, we have established a new synapsis and end-joining two-step assay in vitro, operating on DSBs with either nuclear protein extracts or recombinant proteins. We found an end-joining activity independent of the DNA-PK/XRCC4-ligase IV complex but that actually required a novel synapsis activity of PARP-1 and the ligation activity of the XRCC1-DNA ligase III complex, proteins otherwise involved in the base excision repair pathway. Taken together, these results strongly suggest that a PARP-1-dependent DSBs end-joining activity may exist in mammalian cells. We propose that this mechanism could act as an alternative route of DSBs repair that complements the DNA-PK/XRCC4/ligase IV-dependent nonhomologous end-joining.

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