The cellular response to DNA double strand breaks is a complex, integrated network of pathways, coordinated by the PI-3-kinase-like family of kinases, which includes ATM, ATR and DNA-PK, that function to preserve the integrity of the genome. Mutations in genes that control these pathways are associated with increased genomic instability, neurodegeneration, immunodeficiency, premature aging and tumour predisposition. Indeed a significant proportion of our understanding regarding the mechanisms controlling DNA double strand break (DSB) repair has come from the study of cells derived from patients with inherited mutations in these genes. The discovery of the E3 ubiquitin ligase, RNF8, as a regulator of DNA DSB repair has brought to light a critical role for the ubiquitin system in regulating the cellular DSBs. Recently, identification of mutations in a second E3 ubiquitin ligase, RNF168, as the underlying genetic cause of the DNA repair deficiency disorder, RIDDLE syndrome, has provided the first link between ubiquitin-dependent DSB repair and immune system development in man. The finding that RNF168 functions downstream of RNF8 to orchestrate the recruitment of repair proteins, such as BRCA1 and 53BP1, to sites of DNA damage suggests that these two E3 ligases define a ubiquitylation cascade that regulates the spatial relocalization of DSB repair proteins.
- DNA double strand break repair
- riddle syndrome
- class switch recombination