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Genes Dev. 2019 Mar 1;33(5-6):333-347. doi: 10.1101/gad.321125.118. Epub 2019 Feb 22.

The deSUMOylase SENP2 coordinates homologous recombination and nonhomologous end joining by independent mechanisms.

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Birmingham Centre for Genome Biology, Institute of Cancer and Genomic Sciences, University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham B15 2TT, United Kingdom.


SUMOylation (small ubiquitin-like modifier) in the DNA double-strand break (DSB) response regulates recruitment, activity, and clearance of repair factors. However, our understanding of a role for deSUMOylation in this process is limited. Here we identify different mechanistic roles for deSUMOylation in homologous recombination (HR) and nonhomologous end joining (NHEJ) through the investigation of the deSUMOylase SENP2. We found that regulated deSUMOylation of MDC1 prevents excessive SUMOylation and its RNF4-VCP mediated clearance from DSBs, thereby promoting NHEJ. In contrast, we show that HR is differentially sensitive to SUMO availability and SENP2 activity is needed to provide SUMO. SENP2 is amplified as part of the chromosome 3q amplification in many cancers. Increased SENP2 expression prolongs MDC1 focus retention and increases NHEJ and radioresistance. Collectively, our data reveal that deSUMOylation differentially primes cells for responding to DSBs and demonstrates the ability of SENP2 to tune DSB repair responses.


DNA repair; MDC1; RNF4; SENP2; SUMO; homologous recombination; nonhomologous end joining

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