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Nat Neurosci. 2013 Nov;16(11):1523-9. doi: 10.1038/nn.3537. Epub 2013 Oct 28.

Maintaining genome stability in the nervous system.

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Department of Genetics, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, Memphis Tennessee, USA.


Active maintenance of genome stability is a prerequisite for the development and function of the nervous system. The high replication index during neurogenesis and the long life of mature neurons highlight the need for efficient cellular programs to safeguard genetic fidelity. Multiple DNA damage response pathways ensure that replication stress and other types of DNA lesions, such as oxidative damage, do not affect neural homeostasis. Numerous human neurologic syndromes result from defective DNA damage signaling and compromised genome integrity. These syndromes can involve different neuropathology, which highlights the diverse maintenance roles that are required for genome stability in the nervous system. Understanding how DNA damage signaling pathways promote neural development and preserve homeostasis is essential for understanding fundamental brain function.

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