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Mol Cell Proteomics. 2012 Aug;11(8):411-21. doi: 10.1074/mcp.M111.013581. Epub 2012 Apr 24.

DNA ends alter the molecular composition and localization of Ku multicomponent complexes.

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Department of Cancer Biology, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, 450 Brookline Avenue, Boston, Massachusetts, 02215-5450, USA.


The Ku heterodimer plays an essential role in non-homologous end-joining and other cellular processes including transcription, telomere maintenance and apoptosis. While the function of Ku is regulated through its association with other proteins and nucleic acids, the specific composition of these macromolecular complexes and their dynamic response to endogenous and exogenous cellular stimuli are not well understood. Here we use quantitative proteomics to define the composition of Ku multicomponent complexes and demonstrate that they are dramatically altered in response to UV radiation. Subsequent biochemical assays revealed that the presence of DNA ends leads to the substitution of RNA-binding proteins with DNA and chromatin associated factors to create a macromolecular complex poised for DNA repair. We observed that dynamic remodeling of the Ku complex coincided with exit of Ku and other DNA repair proteins from the nucleolus. Microinjection of sheared DNA into live cells as a mimetic for double strand breaks confirmed these findings in vivo.

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