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  • The importance of the ATM Tel to ATR Mec

    2023-12-01

    The importance of the ATM/Tel1 to ATR/Mec1 switch in the response to DSBs remains to be determined. Noteworthy, resection-defective S. cerevisiae cells, such as sae2Δ, exo1Δ, fun30Δ or sgs1Δ mutants, fail to turn off the checkpoint in response to an unrepaired DSB [56], [127], [128]. Moreover, the sae2Δ mutation enhances Tel1-mediated Rad53 activation after DNA damage. This enhancement requires the function of MRX, whose persistence at DSBs is increased in sae2Δ cells, thus promoting sustained Tel1 signaling via interaction with Xrs2 [127], [128]. In this context, resection would have two distinct consequences: (i) generation of ssDNA that recruits/activates ATR/Mec1; (ii) displacement of MRN/MRX from the DSB site to limit ATM/Tel1 signaling activity. Altogether, these data are consistent with a working model where, after DSB formation, binding of MRN/MRX to DNA ends promotes the recruitment of ATM/Tel1 to the DSB and subsequent ATM/Tel1-dependent checkpoint activation (Fig. 2). Then, ATM/Tel1 promotes the generation of ssDNA, which in turn activates ATR/Mec1 and concomitantly inhibits ATM/Tel1 signaling. Interestingly, ATR/Mec1 itself might regulate the generation of 3′-ended ssDNA at DNA ends, as Mec1-dependent phosphorylation of Sae2 is important for Sae2 function in DSB resection during both mitosis and Carbenicillin [129], [130]. Furthermore, Mec1 phosphorylates histone H2A on Ser129, and this phosphorylation event seems to regulate the resection rate at DSBs [56]. Finally, Mec1 activates the Rad53 checkpoint kinase that phosphorylates Exo1, and this phosphorylation appears to negatively regulate Exo1 activity in resection [131]. Thus, it is possible that ATR/Mec1 might regulate its own activation by acting on the resection machinery, and this can be part of a negative feedback loop to prevent excessive resection.
    Conflict of interest statement
    Acknowledgements We thank Giovanna Lucchini and Michela Clerici for critical reading of the manuscript. The work in MPL laboratory is supported by grants from Associazione Italiana per la Ricerca sul Cancro (AIRC) (grant IG11407) and Cofinanziamento 2010–2011 MIUR/Università di Milano-Bicocca. We apologize to all authors whose publications have not been cited because of space limitation.
    Introduction As well as being a critical component in space radiation, high linear energy transfer (LET) radiation has been used as a novel radiation source for cancer therapy, which is known to produce complex DNA double strand breaks (DSBs) in comparison to low LET [1]. However, the molecular mechanism underlying the specific biological effects of heavy ion beams is still not fully clear. There are two major pathways to repair DSBs in human cells, non-homologous end-joining (NHEJ) and homologous recombination (HR) repair. Recently, studies on DSB repair pathway choice have become an attractive topic in the DNA damage response (DDR) field [2], [3], [4], [5]. The two pathways coordinate, while functioning differentially in response to different kinds of DSBs. It was reported that the efficiency of NHEJ is diminished for complex DSBs [6], [7], [8]. We also proved with different particle radiation in human cells that the complexity of DSBs was a critical factor enhancing DNA end-resection, which could more efficiently trigger HR repair in particle radiation [9]. As the end-resection of DSBs and the produced single strand DNAs (ssDNAs) can be a signal for the activation of the ataxia telangiectasia mutated- and Rad3-related (ATR) signaling pathway, we speculated that ATR may take over from ATM as the primary kinase for checkpoint arrest in G2 cells following heavy ion radiation and G2 and/or M phase checkpoint responses might be specific after heavy ion beams compared with low LET radiation [9]. In human cells, the ATM and the ATR kinases are the two principal regulators of DNA damage signaling [10]. ATM, ATR, and their related DNA-dependent protein kinase catalytic subunit (DNA-PKcs) belong to the PI3K-like kinase (PIKK) family. Whereas ATM and DNA-PKcs are primarily activated by DSBs induced by ionizing radiation (IR), ATR is activated during S-phase to regulate replication and responds to a broad spectrum of DNA damage. ATR/CHK1 signaling is triggered by structures containing ssDNA and a junction between ssDNA/DSB [11]. Although the DNA-damage specificities and functions of ATM, ATR, and DNA-PKcs are clearly distinct, how they distinguish different kinds of DNA damage and execute their unique functions are still poorly understood. In particular, it is largely unclear how ATR is activated by different types of DNA damage [12].