JOURNAL ARTICLE

The role of the Mre11-Rad50-Nbs1 complex in double-strand break repair-facts and myths

Shunichi Takeda, Nguyen Ngoc Hoa, Hiroyuki Sasanuma
Journal of Radiation Research 2016, 57 Suppl 1: i25-i32
27311583
Homologous recombination (HR) initiates double-strand break (DSB) repair by digesting 5'-termini at DSBs, the biochemical reaction called DSB resection, during which DSBs are processed by nucleases to generate 3' single-strand DNA. Rad51 recombinase polymerizes along resected DNA, and the resulting Rad51-DNA complex undergoes homology search. Although DSB resection by the Mre11 nuclease plays a critical role in HR in Saccharomyces cerevisiae, it remains elusive whether DSB resection by Mre11 significantly contributes to HR-dependent DSB repair in mammalian cells. Depletion of Mre11 decreases the efficiency of DSB resection only by 2- to 3-fold in mammalian cells. We show that although Mre11 is required for efficient HR-dependent repair of ionizing-radiation-induced DSBs, Mre11 is largely dispensable for DSB resection in both chicken DT40 and human TK6 B cell lines. Moreover, a 2- to 3-fold decrease in DSB resection has virtually no impact on the efficiency of HR. Thus, although a large number of researchers have reported the vital role of Mre11-mediated DSB resection in HR, the role may not explain the very severe defect in HR in Mre11-deficient cells, including their lethality. We here show experimental evidence for the additional roles of Mre11 in (i) elimination of chemical adducts from DSB ends for subsequent DSB repair, and (ii) maintaining HR intermediates for their proper resolution.

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