Open, repair and close again: chromatin dynamics and the response to UV-induced DNA damage

Zoraya Palomera-Sanchez, Mario Zurita
DNA Repair 2011 February 7, 10 (2): 119-25
Due to its link with human pathologies, including cancer, the mechanism of Nucleotide Excision Repair (NER) has been extensively studied. Most of the pathway and players have been defined using in vitro reconstitution experiments. However, in vivo, the NER machinery must deal with the presence of organized chromatin, which in some regions, such as heterochromatin, is highly condensed but still susceptible to DNA damage. A series of events involving different chromatin-remodeling factors and histone-modifying enzymes target chromatin regions that contain DNA lesions. CPDs change the structure of the nucleosome, allowing access to factors that can recognize the lesion. Next, DDB1-DDB2 protein complexes, which mono-ubiquitinate histones H2A, H3, and H4, recognize nucleosomes containing DNA lesions. The ubiquitinated nucleosome facilitates the recruitment of ATP-dependent chromatin-remodeling factors and the XPC-HR23B-Centrin 2 complex to the target region. Different ATP-dependent chromatin-remodeling factors, such as SWI/SNF and INO80, have been identified as having roles in the UV irradiation response prior to the action of the NER machinery. Subsequently, remodeling of the nucleosome allows enzymatic reactions by histone-modifying factors that may acetylate, methylate or demethylate specific histone residues. Intriguingly, some of these histone modifications are dependent on p53. These histone modifications and the remodeling of the nucleosome allow the entrance of TFIIH, XPC and other NER factors that remove the damaged strand; then, gap-filling DNA synthesis and ligation reactions are carried out after excision of the oligonucleotide with the lesion. Finally, after DNA repair, the initial chromatin structure has to be reestablished. Therefore, factors that modulate chromatin dynamics contribute to the NER mechanism, and they are significant in the future design of treatments for human pathologies related to genome instability and the appearance of drug-resistant tumors.

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