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J Biol Chem. 2012 Jun 1;287(23):18937-52. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M111.313262. Epub 2012 Apr 11.

Roles of Kruppel-associated Box (KRAB)-associated Co-repressor KAP1 Ser-473 Phosphorylation in DNA Damage Response.

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Shanghai Key Laboratory of Regulatory Biology, Institute of Biomedical Sciences and College of Life Science and.


The Kruppel-associated box (KRAB)-associated co-repressor KAP1 is an essential nuclear co-repressor for the KRAB zinc finger protein superfamily of transcriptional factors. Ataxia telangiectasia mutated (ATM)-Chk2 and ATM- and Rad3-related (ATR)-Chk1 are two primary kinase signaling cascades activated in response to DNA damage. A growing body of evidence suggests that ATM and ATR phosphorylate KAP1 at Ser-824 in response to DNA damage and regulate KAP1-dependent chromatin condensation, DNA repair, and gene expression. Here, we show that, depending on the type of DNA damage that occurs, KAP1 Ser-473 can be phosphorylated by ATM-Chk2 or ATR-Chk1 kinases. Phosphorylation of KAP1 at Ser-473 attenuated its binding to the heterochromatin protein 1 family proteins and inhibited its transcriptional repression of KRAB-zinc finger protein (KRAB-ZFP) target genes. Moreover, KAP1 Ser-473 phosphorylation induced by DNA damage stimulated KAP1-E2F1 binding. Overexpression of heterochromatin protein 1 significantly inhibited E2F1-KAP1 binding. Elimination of KAP1 Ser-473 phosphorylation increased E2F1-targeted proapoptotic gene expression and E2F1-induced apoptosis in response to DNA damage. Furthermore, loss of phosphorylation of KAP1 Ser-473 led to less BRCA1 focus formation and slower kinetics of loss of γH2AX foci after DNA damage. KAP1 Ser-473 phosphorylation was required for efficient DNA repair and cell survival in response to DNA damage. Our studies reveal novel functions of KAP1 Ser-473 phosphorylation under stress.

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