Regulation of DNA Double Strand Break Response
To ensure genomic integrity, dividing cells implement multiple checkpoint pathways during the course of the cell cycle. In response to DNA damage, cells may either halt the progression of the cycle (cell cycle arrest) or undergo apoptosis. This choice depends on the extent of damage and the cell's capacity for DNA repair. Cell cycle arrest induced by double-stranded DNA breaks relies on the activation of the ataxia-telangiectasia (ATM) protein kinase, which phosphorylates cell cycle effectors (e.g., Chk2 and p53) to inhibit cell cycle progression. ATM is an S/T-Q directed kinase that is critical for the cellular response to double-stranded DNA breaks. Following DNA damage, ATM is activated and recruited to sites of DNA damage by the MRN protein complex (Mre11-Rad50-Nbs1 proteins) where ATM phosphorylates multiple substrates to trigger a cell cycle arrest. In cancer cells, this regulation may be faulty and cell division may proceed even in the presence of damaged DNA. We show here that the RSK kinase, often elevated in cancers, can suppress DSB-induced ATM activation in both Xenopus egg extracts and human tumor cell lines. In analyzing each step in ATM activation, we have found that RSK disrupts the binding of the MRN complex to DSB DNA. RSK can directly phosphorylate the Mre11 protein at Ser 676 both in vitro and in intact cells and can thereby inhibit loading of Mre11 onto DSB DNA. Accordingly, mutation of Ser 676 to Ala can reverse inhibition of the DSB response by RSK. Collectively, these data point to Mre11 as an important locus of RSK-mediated checkpoint inhibition acting upstream of ATM activation.
The phosphorylation of Mre11 on Ser 676 is antagonized by phosphatases. Here, we screened for phosphatases that target this site and identified PP5 as a candidate. This finding is consistent with the fact that PP5 is required for the ATM-mediated DNA damage response, indicating that PP5 may promote DSB-induced, ATM-dependent DNA damage response by targeting Mre11 upstream of ATM.
Cell cycle arrest
Double strand break
Xenopus egg extract
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