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SUMO and the DNA damage response.

The preservation of genome integrity requires specialised DNA damage repair (DDR) signalling pathways to respond to each type of DNA damage. A key feature of DDR is the integration of numerous post-translational modification signals with DNA repair factors. These modifications influence DDR factor recruitment to damaged DNA, activity, protein-protein interactions, and ultimately eviction to enable access for subsequent repair factors or termination of DDR signalling. SUMO1-3 (small ubiquitin-like modifier 1-3) conjugation has gained much recent attention. The SUMO-modified proteome is enriched with DNA repair factors. Here we provide a snapshot of our current understanding of how SUMO signalling impacts the major DNA repair pathways in mammalian cells. We highlight repeating themes of SUMO signalling used throughout DNA repair pathways including the assembly of protein complexes, competition with ubiquitin to promote DDR factor stability and ubiquitin-dependent degradation or extraction of SUMOylated DDR factors. As SUMO 'addiction' in cancer cells is protective to genomic integrity, targeting components of the SUMO machinery to potentiate DNA damaging therapy or exacerbate existing DNA repair defects is a promising area of study.

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