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J Mol Biol. 2006 Feb 17;356(2):257-65. Epub 2005 Nov 28.

Involvement of polynucleotide kinase in a poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase-1-dependent DNA double-strand breaks rejoining pathway.

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Institut de Pharmacologie et de Biologie Structurale, CNRS UMR 5089, Toulouse, France.


Efficient DNA double-strand break (DSB) repair is critical for the maintenance of genomic integrity. In mammalian cells, DSBs are preferentially repaired by the non-homologous end-joining pathway relying on DNA-PK activity, but other mechanisms may promote end-joining. We previously described a DSB repair pathway that requires synapsis of DNA ends by poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase-1 (PARP-1) and ligation by the XRCC1/DNA ligase III complex (XL). Here, the repair of non-ligatable DNA ends by this pathway was examined in human cell extracts. The phosphorylation of the 5'-terminal end was shown to represent a limiting step for the repair process. Polynucleotide kinase (hPNK) was identified as the 5'-DNA kinase associated with the PARP-1-dependent end-joining pathway because (i) hPNK was co-recruited to DNA ends together with PARP-1 and XL, (ii) ligation of 5'-OH terminal breaks was compromised in hPNK-depleted extracts and restored upon addition of recombinant hPNK, and (iii) recombinant hPNK was necessary for end-joining of 5'-OH terminal breaks reconstituted with the PARP-1/XL complex. Also, using an assay enabling us to follow the ligation kinetics of each strand of a DSB, we established that the two strands at the junction can be processed and joined independently, so that one strand can be ligated without a ligatable nick on the other strand at the DSB site. Taken together these results reveal functional parallels between the PARP-1 and DNA-PK-dependent end-joining processes.

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