Nucleotide excision repair-dependent DNA double-strand break formation and ATM signaling activation in mammalian quiescent cells

Mitsuo Wakasugi, Takuma Sasaki, Megumi Matsumoto, Miyuki Nagaoka, Keiko Inoue, Manabu Inobe, Katsuyoshi Horibata, Kiyoji Tanaka, Tsukasa Matsunaga
Journal of Biological Chemistry 2014 October 10, 289 (41): 28730-7
Histone H2A variant H2AX is phosphorylated at Ser(139) in response to DNA double-strand break (DSB) and single-stranded DNA (ssDNA) formation. UV light dominantly induces pyrimidine photodimers, which are removed from the mammalian genome by nucleotide excision repair (NER). We previously reported that in quiescent G0 phase cells, UV induces ATR-mediated H2AX phosphorylation plausibly caused by persistent ssDNA gap intermediates during NER. In this study, we have found that DSB is also generated following UV irradiation in an NER-dependent manner and contributes to an earlier fraction of UV-induced H2AX phosphorylation. The NER-dependent DSB formation activates ATM kinase and triggers the accumulation of its downstream factors, MRE11, NBS1, and MDC1, at UV-damaged sites. Importantly, ATM-deficient cells exhibited enhanced UV sensitivity under quiescent conditions compared with asynchronously growing conditions. Finally, we show that the NER-dependent H2AX phosphorylation is also observed in murine peripheral T lymphocytes, typical nonproliferating quiescent cells in vivo. These results suggest that in vivo quiescent cells may suffer from NER-mediated secondary DNA damage including ssDNA and DSB.

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