Dancing on Damaged Chromatin : Functions of ATM and the RAD50/MRE11/NBS1 Complex in Cellular Responses to DNA Damage



In order to preserve and protect genetic information, eukaryotic cells have developed a signaling or communications network to help the cell respond to DNA damage, and ATM and NBS1 are key players in this network. ATM is a protein kinase which is activated immediately after a DNA double strand break (DSB) is formed, and the resulting signal cascade generated in response to cellular DSBs is regulated by post-translational protein modifications such as phosphorylation and acetylation. In addition, to ensure the efficient functioning of DNA repair and cell cycle checkpoints, the highly ordered structure of eukaryotic chromatin must be appropriately altered to permit access of repair-related factors to DNA. These alterations are termed chromatin remodeling, and are executed by a specific remodeling complex in conjunction with histone modifications. Current advances in the molecular analysis of DNA damage responses have shown that the auto-phosphorylation of ATM and the interaction between ATM and NBS1 are key steps for ATM activation, and that the association of ATM and NBS1 is involved in chromatin remodeling. Identification of novel factors which function in ubiquitination (RNF8, Ubc13, Rap80, etc.) has also enabled us to understand more details of the early stages in DNA repair pathways which respond to DSBs. In this review, the focus is on the role of ATM and the RAD50/MRE11/NBS1 complex in DSB response pathways, and their role in DSB repair and in the regulation of chromatin remodeling.


  • Journal of Radiation Research

    Journal of Radiation Research 49(5), 451-464, 2008-09-15

    Journal of Radiation Research Editorial Committee

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