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J Biol Chem. 2011 Dec 9;286(49):42470-82. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M111.309252. Epub 2011 Oct 24.

Correct end use during end joining of multiple chromosomal double strand breaks is influenced by repair protein RAD50, DNA-dependent protein kinase DNA-PKcs, and transcription context.

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  • 1Department of Cancer Biology, Beckman Research Institute of the City of Hope, Duarte, California 91010, USA.


During repair of multiple chromosomal double strand breaks (DSBs), matching the correct DSB ends is essential to limit rearrangements. To investigate the maintenance of correct end use, we examined repair of two tandem noncohesive DSBs generated by endonuclease I-SceI and the 3' nonprocessive exonuclease Trex2, which can be expressed as an I-SceI-Trex2 fusion. We examined end joining (EJ) repair that maintains correct ends (proximal-EJ) versus using incorrect ends (distal-EJ), which provides a relative measure of incorrect end use (distal end use). Previous studies showed that ATM is important to limit distal end use. Here we show that DNA-PKcs kinase activity and RAD50 are also important to limit distal end use, but that H2AX is dispensable. In contrast, we find that ATM, DNA-PKcs, and RAD50 have distinct effects on repair events requiring end processing. Furthermore, we developed reporters to examine the effects of the transcription context on DSB repair, using an inducible promoter. We find that a DSB downstream from an active promoter shows a higher frequency of distal end use, and a greater reliance on ATM for limiting incorrect end use. Conversely, DSB transcription context does not affect end processing during EJ, the frequency of homology-directed repair, or the role of RAD50 and DNA-PKcs in limiting distal end use. We suggest that RAD50, DNA-PKcs kinase activity, and transcription context are each important to limit incorrect end use during EJ repair of multiple DSBs, but that these factors and conditions have distinct roles during repair events requiring end processing.

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