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Cell Cycle. 2007 Oct 1;6(19):2408-16. Epub 2007 Jul 20.

Replication protein A is required for etoposide-induced assembly of MRE11/RAD50/NBS1 complex repair foci.

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Department of Environmental Health, University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, Cincinnati, Ohio, USA.


The presence of DNA damage activates a specific response cascade culminating in DNA repair activity and cell cycle checkpoints. Although the type of lesion dictates what proteins are involved in the response, replication protein A (RPA) and the Mre11/ Rad50/Nbs1 complex (MRN) respond to most types of lesions. To examine the relationship of RPA and the MRN complex in DNA damage responses, we used siRNA-mediated protein depletion of RPA-p70 and Mre11. Depletion of RPA-p70 decreased the ability of cells to form phospho-Nbs1 foci and increased levels of DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs) following treatment with etoposide (ETOP). In contrast, depletion of Mre11 led to increased levels of RPA-p34 foci formation, but abrogated phospho-RPA-p34 foci formation. These data support a role for RPA as an initial signal/sensor for DNA damage that facilitates recruitment of MRN and ATM/ATR to sites of damage, where they then work together to fully activate the DNA damage response.

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