ABSTRACT: Non-homologous end joining (NHEJ) is the dominant DNA double strand break (DSB) repair pathway and involves several repair proteins such as Ku, DNA-PKcs, and XRCC4. It has been experimentally shown that the choice of NHEJ proteins is determined by the complexity of DSB. In this paper, we built a mathematical model, based on published data, to study how NHEJ depends on the damage complexity. Under an appropriate set of parameters obtained by minimization technique, we can simulate the kinetics of foci track formation in fluorescently tagged mammalian cells, Ku80-EGFP and DNA-PKcs-YFP for simple and complex DSB repair, respectively, in good agreement with the published experimental data, supporting the notion that simple DSB undergo fast repair in a Ku-dependent, DNA-PKcs-independent manner, while complex DSB repair requires additional DNA-PKcs for end processing, resulting in its slow repair, additionally resulting in slower release rate of Ku and the joining rate of complex DNA ends. Based on the numerous experimental descriptions, we investigated several models to describe the kinetics for complex DSB repair. An important prediction of our model is that the rejoining of complex DSBs is through a process of synapsis formation, similar to a second order reaction between ends, rather than first order break filling/joining. The synapsis formation (SF) model allows for diffusion of ends before the synapsis formation, which is precluded in the first order model by the rapid coupling of ends. Therefore, the SF model also predicts the higher number of chromosomal aberrations observed with high linear energy transfer (LET) radiation due to the higher proportion of complex DSBs compared to low LET radiation, and an increased probability of misrejoin following diffusion before the synapsis is formed, while the first order model does not provide a mechanism for the increased effectiveness in chromosomal aberrations observed.
Project description:DNA double strand break (DSB) repair by non-homologous end joining (NHEJ) is initiated by DSB detection by Ku70/80 (Ku) and DNA-dependent protein kinase catalytic subunit (DNA-PKcs) recruitment, which promotes pathway progression through poorly defined mechanisms. Here, Ku and DNA-PKcs solution structures alone and in complex with DNA, defined by x-ray scattering, reveal major structural reorganizations that choreograph NHEJ initiation. The Ku80 C-terminal region forms a flexible arm that extends from the DNA-binding core to recruit and retain DNA-PKcs at DSBs. Furthermore, Ku- and DNA-promoted assembly of a DNA-PKcs dimer facilitates trans-autophosphorylation at the DSB. The resulting site-specific autophosphorylation induces a large conformational change that opens DNA-PKcs and promotes its release from DNA ends. These results show how protein and DNA interactions initiate large Ku and DNA-PKcs rearrangements to control DNA-PK biological functions as a macromolecular machine orchestrating assembly and disassembly of the initial NHEJ complex on DNA.
Project description:DNA double-strand break (DSB) repair by non-homologous end joining (NHEJ) in human cells is initiated by Ku heterodimer binding to a DSB, followed by recruitment of core NHEJ factors including DNA-dependent protein kinase catalytic subunit (DNA-PKcs), XRCC4-like factor (XLF), and XRCC4 (X4)-DNA ligase IV (L4). Ku also interacts with accessory factors such as aprataxin and polynucleotide kinase/phosphatase-like factor (APLF). Yet, how these factors interact to tether, process, and ligate DSB ends while allowing regulation and chromatin interactions remains enigmatic. Here, small angle X-ray scattering (SAXS) and mutational analyses show APLF is largely an intrinsically disordered protein that binds Ku, Ku/DNA-PKcs (DNA-PK), and X4L4 within an extended flexible NHEJ core complex. X4L4 assembles with Ku heterodimers linked to DNA-PKcs via flexible Ku80 C-terminal regions (Ku80CTR) in a complex stabilized through APLF interactions with Ku, DNA-PK, and X4L4. Collective results unveil the solution architecture of the six-protein complex and suggest cooperative assembly of an extended flexible NHEJ core complex that supports APLF accessibility while possibly providing flexible attachment of the core complex to chromatin. The resulting dynamic tethering furthermore, provides geometric access of L4 catalytic domains to the DNA ends during ligation and of DNA-PKcs for targeted phosphorylation of other NHEJ proteins as well as trans-phosphorylation of DNA-PKcs on the opposing DSB without disrupting the core ligation complex. Overall the results shed light on evolutionary conservation of Ku, X4, and L4 activities, while explaining the observation that Ku80CTR and DNA-PKcs only occur in a subset of higher eukaryotes.
Project description:Repairing DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs) by nonhomologous end joining (NHEJ) requires multiple proteins to recognize and bind DNA ends, process them for compatibility, and ligate them together. We constructed novel DNA substrates for single-molecule nanomanipulation, allowing us to mechanically detect, probe, and rupture in real-time DSB synapsis by specific human NHEJ components. DNA-PKcs and Ku allow DNA end synapsis on the 100?ms timescale, and the addition of PAXX extends this lifetime to ~2?s. Further addition of XRCC4, XLF and ligase IV results in minute-scale synapsis and leads to robust repair of both strands of the nanomanipulated DNA. The energetic contribution of the different components to synaptic stability is typically on the scale of a few kilocalories per mole. Our results define assembly rules for NHEJ machinery and unveil the importance of weak interactions, rapidly ruptured even at sub-picoNewton forces, in regulating this multicomponent chemomechanical system for genome integrity.
Project description:Non-homologous end-joining (NHEJ), the major repair pathway for DNA double-strand breaks (DSB) in mammalian cells, employs a repertoire of core proteins, the recruitment of which to DSB-ends is Ku-dependent. Lack of either of the core components invariably leads to a repair deficiency. There has been evidence that an alternative end-joining operates in the absence of the core components. We used chromosomal reporter substrates to specifically monitor NHEJ of single I-SceI-induced-DSB for detailed comparison of classical and alternative end-joining. We show that rapid repair of both compatible and non-compatible ends require Ku-protein. In the absence of Ku, cells use a slow but efficient repair mode which experiences increasing sequence-loss with time after DSB induction. Chemical inhibition and PARP1-depletion demonstrated that the alternative end-joining in vivo is completely dependent upon functional PARP1. Furthermore, we show that the requirement for PARP1 depends on the absence of Ku but not on DNA-dependent protein kinase (DNA-PKcs). Extensive sequencing of repair junctions revealed that the alternative rejoining does not require long microhomologies. Together, we show that mammalian cells need Ku for rapid and conservative NHEJ. PARP1-dependent alternative route may partially rescue the deficient repair phenotype presumably at the expense of an enhanced mutation rate.
Project description:Nonhomologous end-joining (NHEJ) is a major repair pathway for DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs), involving synapsis and ligation of the broken strands. We describe the use of in vivo and in vitro single-molecule methods to define the organization and interaction of NHEJ repair proteins at DSB ends. Super-resolution fluorescence microscopy allowed the precise visualization of XRCC4, XLF, and DNA ligase IV filaments adjacent to DSBs, which bridge the broken chromosome and direct rejoining. We show, by single-molecule FRET analysis of the Ku/XRCC4/XLF/DNA ligase IV NHEJ ligation complex, that end-to-end synapsis involves a dynamic positioning of the two ends relative to one another. Our observations form the basis of a new model for NHEJ that describes the mechanism whereby filament-forming proteins bridge DNA DSBs in vivo. In this scheme, the filaments at either end of the DSB interact dynamically to achieve optimal configuration and end-to-end positioning and ligation.
Project description:Nonhomologous DNA end-joining (NHEJ) is the predominant double-strand break (DSB) repair pathway throughout the cell cycle and accounts for nearly all DSB repair outside of the S and G2 phases. NHEJ relies on Ku to thread onto DNA termini and thereby improve the affinity of the NHEJ enzymatic components consisting of polymerases (Pol ? and Pol ?), a nuclease (the Artemis·DNA-PKcs complex), and a ligase (XLF·XRCC4·Lig4 complex). Each of the enzymatic components is distinctive for its versatility in acting on diverse incompatible DNA end configurations coupled with a flexibility in loading order, resulting in many possible junctional outcomes from one DSB. DNA ends can either be directly ligated or, if the ends are incompatible, processed until a ligatable configuration is achieved that is often stabilized by up to 4 bp of terminal microhomology. Processing of DNA ends results in nucleotide loss or addition, explaining why DSBs repaired by NHEJ are rarely restored to their original DNA sequence. Thus, NHEJ is a single pathway with multiple enzymes at its disposal to repair DSBs, resulting in a diversity of repair outcomes.
Project description:Poly(ADP-ribose)polymerase 1 (PARP-1) recognizes DNA strand interruptions in vivo and triggers its own modification as well as that of other proteins by the sequential addition of ADP-ribose to form polymers. This modification causes a release of PARP-1 from DNA ends and initiates a variety of responses including DNA repair. While PARP-1 has been firmly implicated in base excision and single strand break repair, its role in the repair of DNA double strand breaks (DSBs) remains unclear. Here, we show that PARP-1, probably together with DNA ligase III, operates in an alternative pathway of non-homologous end joining (NHEJ) that functions as backup to the classical pathway of NHEJ that utilizes DNA-PKcs, Ku, DNA ligase IV, XRCC4, XLF/Cernunnos and Artemis. PARP-1 binds to DNA ends in direct competition with Ku. However, in irradiated cells the higher affinity of Ku for DSBs and an excessive number of other forms of competing DNA lesions limit its contribution to DSB repair. When essential components of the classical pathway of NHEJ are absent, PARP-1 is recruited for DSB repair, particularly in the absence of Ku and non-DSB lesions. This form of DSB repair is sensitive to PARP-1 inhibitors. The results define the function of PARP-1 in DSB repair and characterize a candidate pathway responsible for joining errors causing genomic instability and cancer.
Project description:One of the most central questions about the repair of a double-strand DNA break (DSB) concerns how the two free DNA ends are brought together - a step called synapsis. Using single-molecule FRET (smFRET), we show here that both Ku plus XRCC4:DNA ligase IV are necessary and sufficient to achieve a flexible synapsis of blunt DNA ends, whereas either alone is not. Addition of XLF causes a transition to a close synaptic state, and maximum efficiency of close synapsis is achieved within 20 min. The promotion of close synapsis by XLF indicates a role that is independent of a filament structure, with action focused at the very ends of each duplex. DNA-PKcs is not required for the formation of either the flexible or close synaptic states. This model explains in biochemical terms the evolutionarily central synaptic role of Ku, X4L4, and XLF in NHEJ for all eukaryotes.
Project description:DNA-dependent protein kinase (DNA-PK) is a serine/threonine kinase that plays an essential role in the repair of DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs) in the non-homologous end-joining (NHEJ) pathway. The DNA-PK holoenzyme consists of a catalytic subunit (DNA-PKcs) and DNA-binding subunit (Ku70/80, Ku). Ku is a molecular sensor for double-stranded DNA and once bound to DSB ends it recruits DNA-PKcs to the DSB site. Subsequently, DNA-PKcs is activated and heavily phosphorylated, with these phosphorylations modulating DNA-PKcs. Although phosphorylation of DNA-PKcs is well studied, other post-translational modifications of DNA-PKcs are not. In this study, we aimed to determine if acetylation of DNA-PKcs regulates DNA-PKcs-dependent DSB repair. We report that DNA-PKcs is acetylated in vivo and identified two putative acetylation sites, lysine residues 3241 and 3260. Mutating these sites to block potential acetylation results in increased radiosensitive, a slight decrease in DSB repair capacity as assessed by ?H2AX resolution, and increased chromosomal aberrations, especially quadriradial chromosomes. Together, our results provide evidence that acetylation potentially regulates DNA-PKcs.
Project description:Understanding the molecular details associated with aberrant high mobility group A2 (HMGA2) gene expression is key to establishing the mechanism(s) underlying its oncogenic potential and effect on the development of therapeutic strategies. Here, we report the involvement of HMGA2 in impairing DNA-dependent protein kinase (DNA-PK) during the nonhomologous end joining (NHEJ) process. We showed that HMGA2-expressing cells displayed deficiency in overall and precise DNA end-joining repair and accumulated more endogenous DNA damage. Proper and timely activation of DNA-PK, consisting of Ku70, Ku80, and DNA-PKcs subunits, is essential for the repair of DNA double strand breaks (DSB) generated endogenously or by exposure to genotoxins. In cells overexpressing HMGA2, accumulation of histone 2A variant X phosphorylation at Ser-139 (gamma-H2AX) was associated with hyperphosphorylation of DNA-PKcs at Thr-2609 and Ser-2056 before and after the induction of DSBs. Also, the steady-state complex of Ku and DNA ends was altered by HMGA2. Microirradiation and real-time imaging in living cells revealed that HMGA2 delayed the release of DNA-PKcs from DSB sites, similar to observations found in DNA-PKcs mutants. Moreover, HMGA2 alone was sufficient to induce chromosomal aberrations, a hallmark of deficiency in NHEJ-mediated DNA repair. In summary, a novel role for HMGA2 to interfere with NHEJ processes was uncovered, implicating HMGA2 in the promotion of genome instability and tumorigenesis.