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J Biol Chem. 2005 Oct 7;280(40):33839-46. Epub 2005 Aug 10.

The DNA-dependent protein kinase catalytic subunit phosphorylation sites in human Artemis.

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Department of Pathology, Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California 90089-9176, USA.


Artemis protein has irreplaceable functions in V(D)J recombination and nonhomologous end joining (NHEJ) as a hairpin and 5' and 3' overhang endonuclease. The kinase activity of the DNA-dependent protein kinase catalytic subunit (DNA-PKcs) is necessary in activating Artemis as an endonuclease. Here we report that three basal phosphorylation sites and 11 DNA-PKcs phosphorylation sites within the mammalian Artemis are all located in the C-terminal domain. All but one of these phosphorylation sites deviate from the SQ or TQ motif of DNA-PKcs that was predicted previously from in vitro phosphorylation studies. Phosphatase-treated mammalian Artemis and Artemis that is mutated at the three basal phosphorylation sites still retain DNA-PKcs-dependent endonucleolytic activities, indicating that basal phosphorylation is not required for the activation. In vivo studies of Artemis lacking the C-terminal domain have been reported to be sufficient to complement V(D)J recombination in Artemis null cells. Therefore, the C-terminal domain may have a negative regulatory effect on the Artemis endonucleolytic activities, and phosphorylation by DNA-PKcs in the C-terminal domain may relieve this inhibition.

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