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DNA Repair (Amst). 2006 Nov 8;5(11):1299-306. Epub 2006 Jun 23.

The role of DNA damage response proteins at telomeres--an "integrative" model.

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Brunel Institute of Cancer Genetics and Pharmacogenomics, Division of Biosceinces, School of Health Sciences and Social Care, Brunel University, Kingston Lane, Uxbridge, Middlesex, UB8 3PH, United Kingdom.


Telomeres are specialized structures at chromosome ends which play the key role in chromosomal end protection. There is increasing evidence that many DNA damage response proteins are involved in telomere maintenance. For example, cells defective in DNA double strand break repair proteins including Ku, DNA-PKcs, RAD51D and the MRN (MRE11/RAD51/NBS1) complex show loss of telomere capping function. Similarly, mouse and human cells defective in ataxia telangiectasia mutated (ATM) have defective telomeres. A total of 14 mammalian DNA damage response proteins have, so far, been implicated in telomere maintenance. Recent studies indicate that three more proteins, namely BRCA1, hRad9 and PARP1 are involved in telomere maintenance. The involvement of a wide range of DNA damage response proteins at telomeres raises an important question: do telomere maintenance mechanisms constitute an integral part of DNA damage response machinery? A model termed the "integrative" model is proposed here to argue in favour of telomere maintenance being an integral part of DNA damage response. The "integrative" model is supported by the observation that a telomeric protein, TRF2, is not confined to its local telomeric environment but it migrates to the sites of DNA breakage following exposure of cells to ionizing radiation. Furthermore, even if telomeres are maintained in a non-canonical way, as in the case of Drosophila, DNA damage response proteins are still involved in telomere maintenance suggesting integration of telomere maintenance mechanisms into the DNA damage response network.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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