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Oncogene. 1996 Dec 19;13(12):2707-16.

Analysis of the ATM protein in wild-type and ataxia telangiectasia cells.

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Wellcome Trust/Cancer Research Campaign Institute, Cambridge, UK.


Ataxia telangiectasia (A-T) is a human disorder that results in a number of clinical symptoms, including cerebellar degeneration and increased cancer predisposition. Recently the gene that is defective in A-T has been cloned and designated ATM. Here, we describe the production of antisera raised against the approximately 350 kDa ATM protein. Antisera specificity is confirmed by them recognising a approximately 350 kDa polypeptide in wild-type cells but not in A-T cells containing mutations that truncate ATM upstream of the antibody binding sites. We show that ATM is almost exclusively nuclear and is expressed in all cell lines and tissues analysed. However, ATM levels are not regulated in response to u.v. or ionising radiation. These data are consistent with ATM being a component of the DNA damage detection apparatus rather than being an inducible downstream effector of the DNA damage response. In addition, we analyse ATM protein expression in a variety of A-T patients. Strikingly, ATM expression is reduced drastically or absent in all patients analysed, including those predicted to express proteins that should be detected by our antisera. Thus, the A-T phenotype may result not only from mutations that disrupt functional domains of ATM, but also from mutations that destabilise the ATM mRNA or protein. Finally, we report that a group of patients displaying an intermediate A-T phenotype express low levels of apparently full-length ATM. This suggests that the ATM pathway is partially active in these individuals and that there is a correlation between levels of residual ATM expression and disease severity.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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