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Mol Cell. 2012 May 11;46(3):351-61. doi: 10.1016/j.molcel.2012.02.018. Epub 2012 Mar 29.

Skp2 E3 ligase integrates ATM activation and homologous recombination repair by ubiquitinating NBS1.

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State Key Laboratory of Oncology in South China and Department of Experimental Research, Sun Yat-Sen University Cancer Center, Guangzhou, China.


The Mre11/Rad50/NBS1 (MRN) complex is thought to be a critical sensor that detects damaged DNA and recruits ATM to DNA foci for activation. However, it remains to be established how the MRN complex regulates ATM recruitment to the DNA foci during DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs). Here we show that Skp2 E3 ligase is a key component for the MRN complex-mediated ATM activation in response to DSBs. Skp2 interacts with NBS1 and triggers K63-linked ubiquitination of NBS1 upon DSBs, which is critical for the interaction of NBS1 with ATM, thereby facilitating ATM recruitment to the DNA foci for activation. Finally, we show that Skp2 deficiency exhibits a defect in homologous recombination (HR) repair, thereby increasing IR sensitivity. Our results provide molecular insights into how Skp2 and the MRN complex coordinate to activate ATM, and identify Skp2-mediatetd NBS1 ubiquitination as a vital event for ATM activation in response to DNA damage.

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