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DNA Repair (Amst). 2015 Sep;33:90-100. doi: 10.1016/j.dnarep.2015.06.008. Epub 2015 Jun 29.

Diadenosine 5', 5'''-P(1),P(4)-tetraphosphate (Ap4A) is synthesized in response to DNA damage and inhibits the initiation of DNA replication.

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Institute of Integrative Biology, University of Liverpool, Liverpool L69 7ZB, UK.
Division of Biomedical and Life Sciences, University of Lancaster, Lancaster LA1 4YG, UK.
Institute of Integrative Biology, University of Liverpool, Liverpool L69 7ZB, UK. Electronic address:


The level of intracellular diadenosine 5', 5'''-P(1),P(4)-tetraphosphate (Ap4A) increases several fold in mammalian cells treated with non-cytotoxic doses of interstrand DNA-crosslinking agents such as mitomycin C. It is also increased in cells lacking DNA repair proteins including XRCC1, PARP1, APTX and FANCG, while >50-fold increases (up to around 25 μM) are achieved in repair mutants exposed to mitomycin C. Part of this induced Ap4A is converted into novel derivatives, identified as mono- and di-ADP-ribosylated Ap4A. Gene knockout experiments suggest that DNA ligase III is primarily responsible for the synthesis of damage-induced Ap4A and that PARP1 and PARP2 can both catalyze its ADP-ribosylation. Degradative proteins such as aprataxin may also contribute to the increase. Using a cell-free replication system, Ap4A was found to cause a marked inhibition of the initiation of DNA replicons, while elongation was unaffected. Maximum inhibition of 70-80% was achieved with 20 μM Ap4A. Ap3A, Ap5A, Gp4G and ADP-ribosylated Ap4A were without effect. It is proposed that Ap4A acts as an important inducible ligand in the DNA damage response to prevent the replication of damaged DNA.


ADP-ribosylation; Cell signaling; DNA damage; DNA replication; Diadenosine tetraphosphate

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