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Annu Rev Pathol. 2012;7:303-21. doi: 10.1146/annurev-pathol-011811-132509. Epub 2011 Oct 24.

ATM and the molecular pathogenesis of ataxia telangiectasia.

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1
Department of Genetics, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, Memphis, Tennessee 38105, USA. peter.mckinnon@stjude.org

Abstract

Ataxia telangiectasia (A-T) results from inactivation of the ATM protein kinase. DNA-damage signaling is a prime function of this kinase, although other roles have been ascribed to ATM. Identifying the primary ATM function(s) for tissue homeostasis is key to understanding how these functions contribute to the prevention of A-T-related pathology. In this regard, because A-T is primarily a neurodegenerative disease, it is essential to understand how ATM loss results in degenerative effects on the nervous system. In addition to delineating the biochemistry and cell biology of ATM, important insights into the molecular basis for neurodegeneration in A-T come from a spectrum of phenotypically related neurodegenerative diseases that directly result from DNA-repair deficiency. Together with A-T, these syndromes indicate that neurodegeneration can be caused by the failure to appropriately respond to DNA damage. This review focuses on defective DNA-damage signaling as the underlying cause of A-T.

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