The deSUMOylase SENP2 coordinates homologous recombination and nonhomologous end joining by independent mechanisms

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


SUMOylation (small ubiquitin-like modifier) in the DNA double-strand break (DSB) response regulates recruitment, activity, and clearance of repair factors. However, our understanding of a role for deSUMOylation in this process is limited. Here we identify different mechanistic roles for deSUMOylation in homologous recombination (HR) and nonhomologous end joining (NHEJ) through the investigation of the deSUMOylase SENP2. We found that regulated deSUMOylation of MDC1 prevents excessive SUMOylation and its RNF4-VCP mediated clearance from DSBs, thereby promoting NHEJ. In contrast, we show that HR is differentially sensitive to SUMO availability and SENP2 activity is needed to provide SUMO. SENP2 is amplified as part of the chromosome 3q amplification in many cancers. Increased SENP2 expression prolongs MDC1 focus retention and increases NHEJ and radioresistance. Collectively, our data reveal that deSUMOylation differentially primes cells for responding to DSBs and demonstrates the ability of SENP2 to tune DSB repair responses.

Bibliographic note

© 2019 Garvin et al.; Published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)333-347
Number of pages15
JournalGenes & Development
Issue number5-6
Early online date22 Feb 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2019


  • DNA repair, homologous recombination, MDC1, nonhomologous end joining, RNF4, SENP2, SUMO

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