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DNA Repair (Amst). 2007 Nov;6(11):1698-707. Epub 2007 Aug 13.

ATM, the Mre11/Rad50/Nbs1 complex, and topoisomerase I are concentrated in the nucleus of Purkinje neurons in the juvenile human brain.

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Section on Molecular Neurobiology, Laboratory of Neurogenetics, National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, 5625 Fishers Lane, Room 3S-32, MSC 9412, Bethesda, MD 20952-9412, USA.


The genetic disease ataxia telangiectasia (AT) results from mutations in the ataxia telangiectasia mutated (ATM) gene. AT patients develop a progressive degeneration of cerebellar Purkinje neurons. Surprisingly, while ATM plays a criticial role in the cellular reponse to DNA damage, previous studies have localized ATM to the cytoplasm of rodent and human Purkinje neurons. Here we show that ATM is primarily localized to the nucleus in cerebellar Purkinje neurons in postmortem human brain tissue samples, although some light cytoplasmic ATM staining was also observed. No ATM staining was observed in brain tissue samples from AT patients, verifying the specificity of the antibody. We also found that antibodies against components of the Mre11/Rad50/Nbs1 (MRN) complex showed strong staining in Purkinje cell nuclei. However, while ATM is present in both the nucleoplasm and nucleolus, MRN proteins are excluded from the nucleolus. We also observed very high levels of topoisomerase 1 (TOP1) in the nucleus, and specifically the nucleolus, of human Purkinje neurons. Our results have direct implications for understanding the mechanisms of neurodegeneration in AT and AT-like disorder.

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