DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs) trigger the Ataxia telangiectasia mutated (ATM)-dependent DNA damage response (DDR), which consists of histone H2AX, MDC1, RNF168, 53BP1, PTIP, RIF1, Rev7, and Shieldin. Early stages of B and T lymphocyte development are dependent on recombination activating gene (RAG)-induced DSBs that form the basis for further V(D)J recombination. Non-homologous end joining (NHEJ) pathway factors recognize, process, and ligate DSBs. Based on numerous loss-of-function studies, DDR factors were thought to be dispensable for the V(D)J recombination. In particular, mice lacking Mediator of DNA Damage Checkpoint Protein 1 (MDC1) possessed nearly wild-type levels of mature B and T lymphocytes in the spleen, thymus, and bone marrow. NHEJ factor XRCC4-like factor (XLF)/Cernunnos is functionally redundant with ATM, histone H2AX, and p53-binding protein 1 (53BP1) during the lymphocyte development in mice. Here, we genetically inactivated MDC1
, or both MDC1
in murine vAbl pro-B cell lines and, using chromosomally integrated substrates, demonstrated that MDC1 stimulates the V(D)J recombination in cells lacking XLF. Moreover, combined inactivation of MDC1
in mice resulted in synthetic lethality. Together, these findings suggest that MDC1 and XLF are functionally redundant during the mouse development, in general, and the V(D)J recombination, in particular.
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