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Science. 1998 Sep 11;281(5383):1674-7.

Enhanced phosphorylation of p53 by ATM in response to DNA damage.

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  • 1Department of Human Genetics and Molecular Medicine, Sackler School of Medicine, Tel Aviv University, Ramat Aviv 69978, Israel.


The ATM protein, encoded by the gene responsible for the human genetic disorder ataxia telangiectasia (A-T), regulates several cellular responses to DNA breaks. ATM shares a phosphoinositide 3-kinase-related domain with several proteins, some of them protein kinases. A wortmannin-sensitive protein kinase activity was associated with endogenous or recombinant ATM and was abolished by structural ATM mutations. In vitro substrates included the translation repressor PHAS-I and the p53 protein. ATM phosphorylated p53 in vitro on a single residue, serine-15, which is phosphorylated in vivo in response to DNA damage. This activity was markedly enhanced within minutes after treatment of cells with a radiomimetic drug; the total amount of ATM remained unchanged. Various damage-induced responses may be activated by enhancement of the protein kinase activity of ATM.

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