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Cell Cycle. 2005 Sep;4(9):1193-200. Epub 2005 Sep 27.

Repair of double-strand DNA breaks by the human nonhomologous DNA end joining pathway: the iterative processing model.

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Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center, Department of Pathology, University of Southern California, Keck School of Medicine, Los Angeles, California, USA.


Naturally-occurring ionizing radiation and reactive oxygen species (ROS) from oxidative metabolism are factors that have challenged all life forms during the course of evolution. Ionizing radiation (IR) and reactive oxygen species cause a diverse set of double-strand DNA end configurations. Non-homologous DNA end joining (NHEJ) is an optimal DNA repair pathway for dealing with such a diverse set of DNA lesions. NHEJ can carry out nucleolytic, polymerization, and ligation operations on each strand independently. This iterative processing nature of NHEJ is ideal for repair of pathologic and physiologic double-strand breaks because it permits sequential action of the NHEJ enzymes on each DNA end and on each strand. The versatility of the Artemis:DNA-PKcs endonuclease in cleaving 5' and 3' overhangs, hairpins, gaps, flaps, and various loop conformations makes it well-suited for DNA end modifications on oxidized overhangs. In addition, the ability to cleave stem-loop and hairpin structures permits it to open terminal fold-back configurations that may arise at DNA ends after IR damage. The ability of the XRCC4:DNA ligase IV complex to ligate one strand without ligation of the other permits additional end joining flexibility in NHEJ and raises the possibility of optional involvement of repair proteins from other pathways.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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