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J Biol Chem. 2005 Apr 15;280(15):14709-15. Epub 2005 Jan 26.

Cell cycle dependence of DNA-dependent protein kinase phosphorylation in response to DNA double strand breaks.

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  • 1Department of Radiation Oncology, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, Texas 75390-9187, USA. <>


DNA-dependent protein kinase (DNA-PK), consisting of Ku and DNA-PKcs subunits, is the key component of the non-homologous end-joining (NHEJ) pathway of DNA double strand break (DSB) repair. Although the kinase activity of DNA-PKcs is essential for NHEJ, thus far, no in vivo substrate has been conclusively identified except for an autophosphorylation site on DNA-PKcs itself (threonine 2609). Here we report the ionizing radiation (IR)-induced autophosphorylation of DNA-PKcs at a novel site, serine 2056, the phosphorylation of which is required for the repair of DSBs by NHEJ. Interestingly, IR-induced DNA-PKcs autophosphorylation is regulated in a cell cycle-dependent manner with attenuated phosphorylation in the S phase. In contrast, DNA replication-associated DSBs resulted in DNA-PKcs autophosphorylation and localization to DNA damage sites. These results indicate that although IR-induced DNA-PKcs phosphorylation is attenuated in the S phase, DNA-PKcs is preferentially activated by the physiologically relevant DNA replication-associated DSBs at the sites of DNA synthesis.

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