DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs) are the most toxic of all genomic insults, and pathways dealing with their signaling and repair are crucial to prevent cancer and for immune system development. Despite intense investigations, our knowledge of these pathways has been technically limited by our inability to detect the main repair factors at DSBs in cells. In this paper, we present an original method that involves a combination of ribonuclease- and detergent-based preextraction with high-resolution microscopy. This method allows direct visualization of previously hidden repair complexes, including the main DSB sensor Ku, at virtually any type of DSB, including those induced by anticancer agents. We demonstrate its broad range of applications by coupling it to laser microirradiation, super-resolution microscopy, and single-molecule counting to investigate the spatial organization and composition of repair factories. Furthermore, we use our method to monitor DNA repair and identify mechanisms of repair pathway choice, and we show its utility in defining cellular sensitivities and resistance mechanisms to anticancer agents.
Chromosomal deletions and rearrangements in tumors are often associated with common fragile sites, which are specific genomic loci prone to gaps and breaks in metaphase chromosomes. Common fragile sites appear to arise through incomplete DNA replication because they are induced after partial replication inhibition by agents such as aphidicolin. Here, we show that in G1 cells, large nuclear bodies arise that contain p53 binding protein 1 (53BP1), phosphorylated H2AX (?H2AX), and mediator of DNA damage checkpoint 1 (MDC1), as well as components of previously characterized OPT (Oct-1, PTF, transcription) domains. Notably, we find that incubating cells with low aphidicolin doses increases the incidence and number of 53BP1-OPT domains in G1 cells, and by chromatin immunoprecipitation and massively parallel sequencing analysis of ?H2AX, we demonstrate that OPT domains are enriched at common fragile sites. These findings invoke a model wherein incomplete DNA synthesis during S phase leads to a DNA damage response and formation of 53BP1-OPT domains in the subsequent G1.
DNA double-strand break (DSB) repair occurs within chromatin and can be modulated by chromatin-modifying enzymes. Here we identify the related human histone deacetylases HDAC1 and HDAC2 as two participants in the DNA-damage response. We show that acetylation of histone H3 Lys56 (H3K56) was regulated by HDAC1 and HDAC2 and that HDAC1 and HDAC2 were rapidly recruited to DNA-damage sites to promote hypoacetylation of H3K56. Furthermore, HDAC1- and 2-depleted cells were hypersensitive to DNA-damaging agents and showed sustained DNA-damage signaling, phenotypes that reflect defective DSB repair, particularly by nonhomologous end-joining (NHEJ). Collectively, these results show that HDAC1 and HDAC2 function in the DNA-damage response by promoting DSB repair and thus provide important insights into the radio-sensitizing effects of HDAC inhibitors that are being developed as cancer therapies.
DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs) are highly cytotoxic lesions that are generated by ionizing radiation and various DNA-damaging chemicals. Following DSB formation, cells activate the DNA-damage response (DDR) protein kinases ATM, ATR and DNA-PK (also known as PRKDC). These then trigger histone H2AX (also known as H2AFX) phosphorylation and the accumulation of proteins such as MDC1, 53BP1 (also known as TP53BP1), BRCA1, CtIP (also known as RBBP8), RNF8 and RNF168/RIDDLIN into ionizing radiation-induced foci (IRIF) that amplify DSB signalling and promote DSB repair. Attachment of small ubiquitin-related modifier (SUMO) to target proteins controls diverse cellular functions. Here, we show that SUMO1, SUMO2 and SUMO3 accumulate at DSB sites in mammalian cells, with SUMO1 and SUMO2/3 accrual requiring the E3 ligase enzymes PIAS4 and PIAS1. We also establish that PIAS1 and PIAS4 are recruited to damage sites via mechanisms requiring their SAP domains, and are needed for the productive association of 53BP1, BRCA1 and RNF168 with such regions. Furthermore, we show that PIAS1 and PIAS4 promote DSB repair and confer ionizing radiation resistance. Finally, we establish that PIAS1 and PIAS4 are required for effective ubiquitin-adduct formation mediated by RNF8, RNF168 and BRCA1 at sites of DNA damage. These findings thus identify PIAS1 and PIAS4 as components of the DDR and reveal how protein recruitment to DSB sites is controlled by coordinated SUMOylation and ubiquitylation.
The conserved MRE11–RAD50–NBS1 (MRN) complex is an important sensor of DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs) and facilitates DNA repair by homologous recombination (HR) and end joining. Here, we identify NBS1 as a target of cyclin-dependent kinase (CDK) phosphorylation. We show that NBS1 serine 432 phosphorylation occurs in the S, G2 and M phases of the cell cycle and requires CDK activity. This modification stimulates MRN-dependent conversion of DSBs into structures that are substrates for repair by HR. Impairment of NBS1 phosphorylation not only negatively affects DSB repair by HR, but also prevents resumption of DNA replication after replication-fork stalling. Thus, CDK-mediated NBS1 phosphorylation defines a molecular switch that controls the choice of repair mode for DSBs.
Protein ubiquitylation and sumoylation play key roles in regulating cellular responses to DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs). Here, we show that human RNF4, a small ubiquitin-like modifier (SUMO)-targeted ubiquitin E3 ligase, is recruited to DSBs in a manner requiring its SUMO interaction motifs, the SUMO E3 ligases PIAS1 and PIAS4, and various DSB-responsive proteins. Furthermore, we reveal that RNF4 depletion impairs ubiquitin adduct formation at DSB sites and causes persistent histone H2AX phosphorylation (?H2AX) associated with defective DSB repair, hypersensitivity toward DSB-inducing agents, and delayed recovery from radiation-induced cell cycle arrest. We establish that RNF4 regulates turnover of the DSB-responsive factors MDC1 and replication protein A (RPA) at DNA damage sites and that RNF4-depleted cells fail to effectively replace RPA by the homologous recombination factors BRCA2 and RAD51 on resected DNA. Consistent with previous data showing that RNF4 targets proteins to the proteasome, we show that the proteasome component PSMD4 is recruited to DNA damage sites in a manner requiring its ubiquitin-interacting domains, RNF4 and RNF8. Finally, we establish that PSMD4 binds MDC1 and RPA1 in a DNA damage-induced, RNF4-dependent manner and that PSMD4 depletion cause MDC1 and ?H2AX persistence in irradiated cells. RNF4 thus operates as a DSB response factor at the crossroads between the SUMO and ubiquitin systems.
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