Send to

Choose Destination
Environ Mol Mutagen. 2015 Jul;56(6):491-504. doi: 10.1002/em.21944. Epub 2015 Mar 12.

DNA damage foci: Meaning and significance.

Author information

Public Health England, Centre for Radiation, Chemical and Environmental Hazards, Chilton, United Kingdom.
Department of Radiotherapy, Laboratory of Radiation Biology and Experimental Radiation Oncology, University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, Hamburg, Germany.
Department of Cellular Pathology, Oxford University Hospitals, Headley Way, Headington, Oxford, United Kingdom.


The discovery of DNA damage response proteins such as γH2AX, ATM, 53BP1, RAD51, and the MRE11/RAD50/NBS1 complex, that accumulate and/or are modified in the vicinity of a chromosomal DNA double-strand break to form microscopically visible, subnuclear foci, has revolutionized the detection of these lesions and has enabled studies of the cellular machinery that contributes to their repair. Double-strand breaks are induced directly by a number of physical and chemical agents, including ionizing radiation and radiomimetic drugs, but can also arise as secondary lesions during replication and DNA repair following exposure to a wide range of genotoxins. Here we aim to review the biological meaning and significance of DNA damage foci, looking specifically at a range of different settings in which such markers of DNA damage and repair are being studied and interpreted.


53BP1; DNA double-strand break; genotoxicity; ionizing radiation; γH2AX

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Wiley
Loading ...
Support Center