Linking double-stranded DNA breaks to the recombination activating gene complex directs repair to the nonhomologous end-joining pathway.
ABSTRACT: Two major DNA repair pathways, nonhomologous end-joining (NHEJ) and homologous recombination (HR), repair double-stranded DNA breaks (DSBs) in all eukaryotes. Additionally, several alternative end-joining pathways (or subpathways) have been reported that characteristically use short-sequence homologies at the DNA ends to facilitate joining. How a cell chooses which DNA repair pathway to use (at any particular DSB) is a central and largely unanswered question. For one type of DSB, there is apparently no choice. DSBs mediated by the lymphocyte-specific recombination activating gene (RAG) endonuclease are repaired virtually exclusively by NHEJ. Here we demonstrate that non-RAG-mediated DSBs can be similarly forced into the NHEJ pathway by physical association with the RAG endonuclease.
Project description:Lymphocyte antigen receptor gene assembly occurs through the process of V(D)J recombination, which is initiated when the RAG endonuclease introduces DNA DSBs at two recombining gene segments to form broken DNA coding end pairs and signal end pairs. These paired DNA ends are joined by proteins of the nonhomologous end-joining (NHEJ) pathway of DSB repair to form a coding joint and signal joint, respectively. RAG DSBs are generated in G1-phase developing lymphocytes, where they activate the ataxia telangiectasia mutated (Atm) and DNA-PKcs kinases to orchestrate diverse cellular DNA damage responses including DSB repair. Paradoxically, although Atm and DNA-PKcs both function during coding joint formation, Atm appears to be dispensible for signal joint formation; and although some studies have revealed an activity for DNA-PKcs during signal joint formation, others have not. Here we show that Atm and DNA-PKcs have overlapping catalytic activities that are required for chromosomal signal joint formation and for preventing the aberrant resolution of signal ends as potentially oncogenic chromosomal translocations.
Project description:Recent work has highlighted the importance of alternative, error-prone mechanisms for joining DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs) in mammalian cells. These noncanonical, nonhomologous end-joining (NHEJ) pathways threaten genomic stability but remain poorly characterized. The RAG postcleavage complex normally prevents V(D)J recombination-associated DSBs from accessing alternative NHEJ. Because the MRE11/RAD50/NBS1 complex localizes to RAG-mediated DSBs and possesses DNA end tethering, processing, and joining activities, we asked whether it plays a role in the mechanism of alternative NHEJ or participates in regulating access of DSBs to alternative repair pathways. We find that NBS1 is required for alternative NHEJ of hairpin coding ends, suppresses alternative NHEJ of signal ends, and promotes proper resolution of inversional recombination intermediates. These data demonstrate that the MRE11 complex functions at two distinct levels, regulating repair pathway choice (likely through enhancing the stability of DNA end complexes) and participating in alternative NHEJ of coding ends.
Project description:Homologous recombination (HR) and non-homologous end joining (NHEJ) represent distinct pathways for repairing DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs). Previous work implicated Artemis and ATM in an NHEJ-dependent process, which repairs a defined subset of radiation-induced DSBs in G1-phase. Here, we show that in G2, as in G1, NHEJ represents the major DSB-repair pathway whereas HR is only essential for repair of approximately 15% of X- or gamma-ray-induced DSBs. In addition to requiring the known HR proteins, Brca2, Rad51 and Rad54, repair of radiation-induced DSBs by HR in G2 also involves Artemis and ATM suggesting that they promote NHEJ during G1 but HR during G2. The dependency for ATM for repair is relieved by depleting KAP-1, providing evidence that HR in G2 repairs heterochromatin-associated DSBs. Although not core HR proteins, ATM and Artemis are required for efficient formation of single-stranded DNA and Rad51 foci at radiation-induced DSBs in G2 with Artemis function requiring its endonuclease activity. We suggest that Artemis endonuclease removes lesions or secondary structures, which inhibit end resection and preclude the completion of HR or NHEJ.
Project description:Canonical non-homologous end joining (c-NHEJ) repairs DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs) in G1 cells with biphasic kinetics. We show that DSBs repaired with slow kinetics, including those localizing to heterochromatic regions or harboring additional lesions at the DSB site, undergo resection prior to repair by c-NHEJ and not alt-NHEJ. Resection-dependent c-NHEJ represents an inducible process during which Plk3 phosphorylates CtIP, mediating its interaction with Brca1 and promoting the initiation of resection. Mre11 exonuclease, EXD2, and Exo1 execute resection, and Artemis endonuclease functions to complete the process. If resection does not commence, then repair can ensue by c-NHEJ, but when executed, Artemis is essential to complete resection-dependent c-NHEJ. Additionally, Mre11 endonuclease activity is dispensable for resection in G1. Thus, resection in G1 differs from the process in G2 that leads to homologous recombination. Resection-dependent c-NHEJ significantly contributes to the formation of deletions and translocations in G1, which represent important initiating events in carcinogenesis.
Project description:Classical nonhomologous end joining (C-NHEJ) is a major mammalian DNA double-strand break (DSB) repair pathway. Core C-NHEJ factors, such as XRCC4, are required for joining DSB intermediates of the G1 phase-specific V(D)J recombination reaction in progenitor lymphocytes. Core factors also contribute to joining DSBs in cycling mature B-lineage cells, including DSBs generated during antibody class switch recombination (CSR) and DSBs generated by ionizing radiation. The XRCC4-like-factor (XLF) C-NHEJ protein is dispensable for V(D)J recombination in normal cells, but because of functional redundancy, it is absolutely required for this process in cells deficient for the ataxia telangiectasia-mutated (ATM) DSB response factor. The recently identified paralogue of XRCC4 and XLF (PAXX) factor has homology to these two proteins and variably contributes to ionizing radiation-induced DSB repair in human and chicken cells. We now report that PAXX is dispensable for joining V(D)J recombination DSBs in G1-arrested mouse pro-B-cell lines, dispensable for joining CSR-associated DSBs in a cycling mouse B-cell line, and dispensable for normal ionizing radiation resistance in both G1-arrested and cycling pro-B lines. However, we find that combined deficiency for PAXX and XLF in G1-arrested pro-B lines abrogates DSB joining during V(D)J recombination and sensitizes the cells to ionizing radiation exposure. Thus, PAXX provides core C-NHEJ factor-associated functions in the absence of XLF and vice versa in G1-arrested pro-B-cell lines. Finally, we also find that PAXX deficiency has no impact on V(D)J recombination DSB joining in ATM-deficient pro-B lines. We discuss implications of these findings with respect to potential PAXX and XLF functions in C-NHEJ.
Project description:DNA non-homologous end joining (NHEJ) and homologous recombination (HR) function to repair DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs) in G2 phase with HR preferentially repairing heterochromatin-associated DSBs (HC-DSBs). Here, we examine the regulation of repair pathway usage at two-ended DSBs in G2. We identify the speed of DSB repair as a major component influencing repair pathway usage showing that DNA damage and chromatin complexity are factors influencing DSB repair rate and pathway choice. Loss of NHEJ proteins also slows DSB repair allowing increased resection. However, expression of an autophosphorylation-defective DNA-PKcs mutant, which binds DSBs but precludes the completion of NHEJ, dramatically reduces DSB end resection at all DSBs. In contrast, loss of HR does not impair repair by NHEJ although CtIP-dependent end resection precludes NHEJ usage. We propose that NHEJ initially attempts to repair DSBs and, if rapid rejoining does not ensue, then resection occurs promoting repair by HR. Finally, we identify novel roles for ATM in regulating DSB end resection; an indirect role in promoting KAP-1-dependent chromatin relaxation and a direct role in phosphorylating and activating CtIP.
Project description:Proper repair of DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs) is necessary for the maintenance of genomic integrity. Here, a new simple assay was used to study extrachromosomal DSB repair in Schizosaccharomyces pombe. Strikingly, DSB repair was associated with the capture of fission yeast mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) at high frequency. Capture of mtDNA fragments required the Lig4p/Pku70p nonhomologous end-joining (NHEJ) machinery and its frequency was highly increased in fission yeast cells grown to stationary phase. The fission yeast Mre11 complex Rad32p/Rad50p/Nbs1p was also required for efficient capture of mtDNA at DSBs, supporting a role for the complex in promoting intermolecular ligation. Competition assays further revealed that microsatellite DNA from higher eukaryotes was preferentially captured at yeast DSBs. Finally, cotransformation experiments indicated that, in NHEJ-deficient cells, capture of extranuclear DNA at DSBs was observed if homologies--as short as 8 bp--were present between DNA substrate and DSB ends. Hence, whether driven by NHEJ, microhomology-mediated end-joining, or homologous recombination, DNA capture associated with DSB repair is a mutagenic process threatening genomic stability.
Project description:The alternative non-homologous end-joining (NHEJ) pathway promotes DNA double-strand break (DSB) repair in cells deficient for NHEJ or homologous recombination, suggesting that it operates at all stages of the cell cycle. Here, we use an approach in which DNA breaks can be induced in G1 cells and their repair tracked, enabling us to show that joining of DSBs is not functional in G1-arrested XRCC4-deficient cells. Cell cycle entry into S-G2/M restores DSB repair by Pol ?-dependent and PARP1-independent alternative NHEJ with repair products bearing kilo-base long DNA end resection, micro-homologies and chromosome translocations. We identify a synthetic lethal interaction between XRCC4 and Pol ? under conditions of G1 DSBs, associated with accumulation of unresolved DNA ends in S-G2/M. Collectively, our results support the conclusion that the repair of G1 DSBs progressing to S-G2/M by alternative NHEJ drives genomic instability and represent an attractive target for future DNA repair-based cancer therapies.
Project description:The repair of DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs) is critical for the maintenance of genomic integrity and viability for all organisms. Mammals have evolved at least two genetically discrete ways to mediate DNA DSB repair: homologous recombination (HR) and non-homologous end joining (NHEJ). In mammalian cells, most DSBs are preferentially repaired by NHEJ. Recent work has demonstrated that NHEJ consists of at least two sub-pathways-the main Ku heterodimer-dependent or "classic" NHEJ (C-NHEJ) pathway and an "alternative" NHEJ (A-NHEJ) pathway, which usually generates microhomology-mediated signatures at repair junctions. In our study, recombinant adeno-associated virus knockout vectors were utilized to construct a series of isogenic human somatic cell lines deficient in the core C-NHEJ factors (Ku, DNA-PK(cs), XLF, and LIGIV), and the resulting cell lines were characterized for their ability to carry out DNA DSB repair. The absence of DNA-PK(cs), XLF, or LIGIV resulted in cell lines that were profoundly impaired in DNA DSB repair activity. Unexpectedly, Ku86-null cells showed wild-type levels of DNA DSB repair activity that was dominated by microhomology joining events indicative of A-NHEJ. Importantly, A-NHEJ DNA DSB repair activity could also be efficiently de-repressed in LIGIV-null and DNA-PK(cs)-null cells by subsequently reducing the level of Ku70. These studies demonstrate that in human cells C-NHEJ is the major DNA DSB repair pathway and they show that Ku is the critical C-NHEJ factor that regulates DNA NHEJ DSB pathway choice.
Project description:Class switch recombination (CSR) requires activation-induced cytidine deaminase (AID) to trigger DNA double strand breaks (DSBs) at the immunoglobulin heavy chain (IGH) in B cells. Joining of AID-dependent DSBs within IGH facilitate CSR and effective humoral immunity, but ligation to DSBs in non-IGH chromosomes leads to chromosomal translocations. Thus, the mechanism by which AID-dependent DSBs are repaired requires careful examination. The random activity of AID in IGH leads to a spectrum of DSB structures. In this report, we investigated how DSB structure impacts end-joining leading to CSR and chromosomal translocations in human B cells, for which models of CSR are inefficient and not readily available. Using CRISPR/Cas9 to model AID-dependent DSBs in IGH and non-IGH genes, we found that DSBs with 5' and 3' overhangs led to increased processing during end-joining compared to blunt DSBs. We observed that 5' overhangs were removed and 3' overhangs were filled in at recombination junctions, suggesting that different subsets of enzymes are required for repair based on DSB polarity. Surprisingly, while Cas9-mediated switching preferentially utilized NHEJ regardless of DSB structure, A-EJ strongly preferred repairing blunt DSBs leading to translocations in the absence of NHEJ. We found that DSB polarity influenced frequency of Cas9-mediated switching and translocations more than overhang length. Lastly, recombination junctions from staggered DSBs exhibited templated insertions, suggesting iterative resection and filling in during repair. Our results demonstrate that DSB structure biases repair towards NHEJ or A-EJ to complete recombination leading to CSR and translocations, thus helping to elucidate the mechanism of genome rearrangements in human B cells.