Send to

Choose Destination
DNA Repair (Amst). 2009 Aug 6;8(8):920-9. doi: 10.1016/j.dnarep.2009.05.006. Epub 2009 Jun 16.

DNA-PKcs and ATM co-regulate DNA double-strand break repair.

Author information

Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology, University of New Mexico School of Medicine, Albuquerque, NM 87131, USA.


DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs) are repaired by nonhomologous end-joining (NHEJ) and homologous recombination (HR). The NHEJ/HR decision is under complex regulation and involves DNA-dependent protein kinase (DNA-PKcs). HR is elevated in DNA-PKcs null cells, but suppressed by DNA-PKcs kinase inhibitors, suggesting that kinase-inactive DNA-PKcs (DNA-PKcs-KR) would suppress HR. Here we use a direct repeat assay to monitor HR repair of DSBs induced by I-SceI nuclease. Surprisingly, DSB-induced HR in DNA-PKcs-KR cells was 2- to 3-fold above the elevated HR level of DNA-PKcs null cells, and approximately 4- to 7-fold above cells expressing wild-type DNA-PKcs. The hyperrecombination in DNA-PKcs-KR cells compared to DNA-PKcs null cells was also apparent as increased resistance to DNA crosslinks induced by mitomycin C. ATM phosphorylates many HR proteins, and ATM is expressed at a low level in cells lacking DNA-PKcs, but restored to wild-type level in cells expressing DNA-PKcs-KR. Several clusters of phosphorylation sites in DNA-PKcs, including the T2609 cluster, which is phosphorylated by DNA-PKcs and ATM, regulate access of repair factors to broken ends. Our results indicate that ATM-dependent phosphorylation of DNA-PKcs-KR contributes to the hyperrecombination phenotype. Interestingly, DNA-PKcs null cells showed more persistent ionizing radiation-induced RAD51 foci (but lower HR levels) compared to DNA-PKcs-KR cells, consistent with HR completion requiring RAD51 turnover. ATM may promote RAD51 turnover, suggesting a second (not mutually exclusive) mechanism by which restored ATM contributes to hyperrecombination in DNA-PKcs-KR cells. We propose a model in which DNA-PKcs and ATM coordinately regulate DSB repair by NHEJ and HR.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Publication types, MeSH terms, Substances, Grant support

Publication types

MeSH terms


Grant support

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center