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Genome Integr. 2012 Dec 31;3(1):10. doi: 10.1186/2041-9414-3-10.

Resolution of complex ends by Nonhomologous end joining - better to be lucky than good?

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Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics and Curriculum in Genetics and Molecular Biology, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina 27599, USA.


The Nonhomologous end joining pathway is essential for efficient repair of chromosome double strand breaks. This pathway consequently plays a key role in cellular resistance to break-inducing exogenous agents, as well as in the developmentally-programmed recombinations that are required for adaptive immunity. Chromosome breaks often have complex or "dirty" end structures that can interfere with the critical ligation step in this pathway; we review here how Nonhomologous end joining resolves such breaks.

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