Special Issue "Double-Strand DNA Break Repair and Human Disease"

A special issue of Cells (ISSN 2073-4409). This special issue belongs to the section "Cell Nuclei: Function, Transport and Receptors".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 October 2020).

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Dr. George Iliakis
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Institute of Medical Radiation Biology, University of Duisburg-Essen, Medical School, Hufeland Str. 55, 45122 Essen, Germany
Interests: DNA double-strand breaks and their processing in the development of cancer and cellular responses to ionizing radiation
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs) are highly consequential invertebrates because they pose unique requirements for their repair. In line with this unique characteristic, as lesions, DSBs are processed by four mechanistically distinct repair pathways: Classical non-homologous end-joining (c-NHEJ), gene conversion (GC)—a homologous recombination repair (HRR) subpathway, single-strand annealing (SSA), and alternative end-joining (alt-EJ). It is surprising that among these DSB repair pathways only GC is mechanistically equipped to restore the genome. The function of all other DSB repair pathways is associated with alterations at the DSB junction, as well as with the formation of translocations—both events that feed genomic instability and carcinogenesis. The evolution of DSB processing options with such a spectrum of mechanisms and outcomes suggests an underlying logic and flexible adaptation to necessities that are presently being elucidated. The present issue of Cells combines articles that summarize the state-of-the-art in DSB processing pathways, pathway utilization, and their consequences for genomic instability, carcinogenesis, and cancer treatment. Articles with breakthrough ideas and hypotheses that move the field forward are encouraged.

Prof. Dr. George Iliakis
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • DNA double-strand breaks
  • Gene conversion
  • C-NHEJ
  • Single-strand annealing
  • Alternative end-joining
  • Ionizing radiation
  • Genomic instability
  • Cancer development
  • Cancer treatment

Published Papers (11 papers)

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Research

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Article
The DNA Glycosylase NEIL2 Suppresses Fusobacterium-Infection-Induced Inflammation and DNA Damage in Colonic Epithelial Cells
Cells 2020, 9(9), 1980; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells9091980 - 28 Aug 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 773
Abstract
Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the third most prevalent cancer, while the majority (80–85%) of CRCs are sporadic and are microsatellite stable (MSS), and approximately 15–20% of them display microsatellite instability (MSI). Infection and chronic inflammation are known to induce DNA damage in host [...] Read more.
Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the third most prevalent cancer, while the majority (80–85%) of CRCs are sporadic and are microsatellite stable (MSS), and approximately 15–20% of them display microsatellite instability (MSI). Infection and chronic inflammation are known to induce DNA damage in host tissues and can lead to oncogenic transformation of cells, but the role of DNA repair proteins in microbe-associated CRCs remains unknown. Using CRC-associated microbes such as Fusobacterium nucleatum (Fn) in a coculture with murine and human enteroid-derived monolayers (EDMs), here, we show that, among all the key DNA repair proteins, NEIL2, an oxidized base-specific DNA glycosylase, is significantly downregulated after Fn infection. Fn infection of NEIL2-null mouse-derived EDMs showed a significantly higher level of DNA damage, including double-strand breaks and inflammatory cytokines. Several CRC-associated microbes, but not the commensal bacteria, induced the accumulation of DNA damage in EDMs derived from a murine CRC model, and Fn had the most pronounced effect. An analysis of publicly available transcriptomic datasets showed that the downregulation of NEIL2 is often encountered in MSS compared to MSI CRCs. We conclude that the CRC-associated microbe Fn induced the downregulation of NEIL2 and consequent accumulation of DNA damage and played critical roles in the progression of CRCs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Double-Strand DNA Break Repair and Human Disease)
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Article
Fractionation-Dependent Radiosensitization by Molecular Targeting of Nek1
Cells 2020, 9(5), 1235; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells9051235 - 16 May 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 991
Abstract
NIMA (never-in-mitosis gene A)-related kinase 1 (Nek1) is shown to impact on different cellular pathways such as DNA repair, checkpoint activation, and apoptosis. Its role as a molecular target for radiation sensitization of malignant cells, however, remains elusive. Stably transduced doxycycline (Dox)-inducible Nek1 [...] Read more.
NIMA (never-in-mitosis gene A)-related kinase 1 (Nek1) is shown to impact on different cellular pathways such as DNA repair, checkpoint activation, and apoptosis. Its role as a molecular target for radiation sensitization of malignant cells, however, remains elusive. Stably transduced doxycycline (Dox)-inducible Nek1 shRNA HeLa cervix and siRNA-transfected HCT-15 colorectal carcinoma cells were irradiated in vitro and 3D clonogenic radiation survival, residual DNA damage, cell cycle distribution, and apoptosis were analyzed. Nek1 knockdown (KD) sensitized both cell lines to ionizing radiation following a single dose irradiation and more pronounced in combination with a 6 h fractionation (3 × 2 Gy) regime. For preclinical analyses we focused on cervical cancer. Nek1 shRNA HeLa cells were grafted into NOD/SCID/IL-2Rγc−/− (NSG) mice and Nek1 KD was induced by Dox-infused drinking water resulting in a significant cytostatic effect if combined with a 6 h fractionation (3 × 2 Gy) regime. In addition, we correlated Nek1 expression in biopsies of patients with cervical cancer with histopathological parameters and clinical follow-up. Our results indicate that elevated levels of Nek1 were associated with an increased rate of local or distant failure, as well as with impaired cancer-specific and overall survival in univariate analyses and for most endpoints in multivariable analyses. Finally, findings from The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) validation cohort confirmed a significant association of high Nek1 expression with a reduced disease-free survival. In conclusion, we consider Nek1 to represent a novel biomarker and potential therapeutic target for drug development in the context of optimized fractionation intervals. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Double-Strand DNA Break Repair and Human Disease)
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Article
Differences in the Response to DNA Double-Strand Breaks between Rod Photoreceptors of Rodents, Pigs, and Humans
Cells 2020, 9(4), 947; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells9040947 - 12 Apr 2020
Viewed by 1016
Abstract
Genome editing (GE) represents a powerful approach to fight inherited blinding diseases in which the underlying mutations cause the degeneration of the light sensing photoreceptor cells of the retina. Successful GE requires the efficient repair of DNA double-stranded breaks (DSBs) generated during the [...] Read more.
Genome editing (GE) represents a powerful approach to fight inherited blinding diseases in which the underlying mutations cause the degeneration of the light sensing photoreceptor cells of the retina. Successful GE requires the efficient repair of DNA double-stranded breaks (DSBs) generated during the treatment. Rod photoreceptors of adult mice have a highly specialized chromatin organization, do not efficiently express a variety of DSB response genes and repair DSBs very inefficiently. The DSB repair efficiency in rods of other species including humans is unknown. Here, we used ionizing radiation to analyze the DSB response in rods of various nocturnal and diurnal species, including genetically modified mice, pigs, and humans. We show that the inefficient repair of DSBs in adult mouse rods does not result from their specialized chromatin organization. Instead, the DSB repair efficiency in rods correlates with the level of Kruppel-associated protein-1 (KAP1) expression and its ataxia-telangiectasia mutated (ATM)-dependent phosphorylation. Strikingly, we detected robust KAP1 expression and phosphorylation only in human rods but not in rods of other diurnal species including pigs. Hence, our study provides important information about the uniqueness of the DSB response in human rods which needs to be considered when choosing model systems for the development of GE strategies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Double-Strand DNA Break Repair and Human Disease)
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Article
Proton Irradiation Increases the Necessity for Homologous Recombination Repair Along with the Indispensability of Non-Homologous End Joining
Cells 2020, 9(4), 889; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells9040889 - 05 Apr 2020
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 1259
Abstract
Technical improvements in clinical radiotherapy for maximizing cytotoxicity to the tumor while limiting negative impact on co-irradiated healthy tissues include the increasing use of particle therapy (e.g., proton therapy) worldwide. Yet potential differences in the biology of DNA damage induction and repair between [...] Read more.
Technical improvements in clinical radiotherapy for maximizing cytotoxicity to the tumor while limiting negative impact on co-irradiated healthy tissues include the increasing use of particle therapy (e.g., proton therapy) worldwide. Yet potential differences in the biology of DNA damage induction and repair between irradiation with X-ray photons and protons remain elusive. We compared the differences in DNA double strand break (DSB) repair and survival of cells compromised in non-homologous end joining (NHEJ), homologous recombination repair (HRR) or both, after irradiation with an equal dose of X-ray photons, entrance plateau (EP) protons, and mid spread-out Bragg peak (SOBP) protons. We used super-resolution microscopy to investigate potential differences in spatial distribution of DNA damage foci upon irradiation. While DNA damage foci were equally distributed throughout the nucleus after X-ray photon irradiation, we observed more clustered DNA damage foci upon proton irradiation. Furthermore, deficiency in essential NHEJ proteins delayed DNA repair kinetics and sensitized cells to both, X-ray photon and proton irradiation, whereas deficiency in HRR proteins sensitized cells only to proton irradiation. We assume that NHEJ is indispensable for processing DNA DSB independent of the irradiation source, whereas the importance of HRR rises with increasing energy of applied irradiation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Double-Strand DNA Break Repair and Human Disease)
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Article
Prevention of DNA Replication Stress by CHK1 Leads to Chemoresistance Despite a DNA Repair Defect in Homologous Recombination in Breast Cancer
Cells 2020, 9(1), 238; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells9010238 - 17 Jan 2020
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 1462
Abstract
Chromosomal instability not only has a negative effect on survival in triple-negative breast cancer, but also on the well treatable subgroup of luminal A tumors. This suggests a general mechanism independent of subtypes. Increased chromosomal instability (CIN) in triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) is [...] Read more.
Chromosomal instability not only has a negative effect on survival in triple-negative breast cancer, but also on the well treatable subgroup of luminal A tumors. This suggests a general mechanism independent of subtypes. Increased chromosomal instability (CIN) in triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) is attributed to a defect in the DNA repair pathway homologous recombination. Homologous recombination (HR) prevents genomic instability by repair and protection of replication. It is unclear whether genetic alterations actually lead to a repair defect or whether superior signaling pathways are of greater importance. Previous studies focused exclusively on the repair function of HR. Here, we show that the regulation of HR by the intra-S-phase damage response at the replication is of overriding importance. A damage response activated by Ataxia telangiectasia and Rad3 related-checkpoint kinase 1 (ATR-CHK1) can prevent replication stress and leads to resistance formation. CHK1 thus has a preferred role over HR in preventing replication stress in TNBC. The signaling cascade ATR-CHK1 can compensate for a double-strand break repair error and lead to resistance of HR-deficient tumors. Established methods for the identification of HR-deficient tumors for Poly(ADP-Ribose)-Polymerase 1 (PARP1) inhibitor therapies should be extended to include analysis of candidates for intra-S phase damage response. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Double-Strand DNA Break Repair and Human Disease)
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Review

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Review
Phosphorylation Targets of DNA-PK and Their Role in HIV-1 Replication
Cells 2020, 9(8), 1907; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells9081907 - 16 Aug 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1173
Abstract
The DNA dependent protein kinase (DNA-PK) is a trimeric nuclear complex consisting of a large protein kinase and the Ku heterodimer. The kinase activity of DNA-PK is required for efficient repair of DNA double-strand breaks (DSB) by non-homologous end joining (NHEJ). We also [...] Read more.
The DNA dependent protein kinase (DNA-PK) is a trimeric nuclear complex consisting of a large protein kinase and the Ku heterodimer. The kinase activity of DNA-PK is required for efficient repair of DNA double-strand breaks (DSB) by non-homologous end joining (NHEJ). We also showed that the kinase activity of DNA-PK is essential for post-integrational DNA repair in the case of HIV-1 infection. Besides, DNA-PK is known to participate in such cellular processes as protection of mammalian telomeres, transcription, and some others where the need for its phosphorylating activity is not clearly elucidated. We carried out a systematic search and analysis of DNA-PK targets described in the literature and identified 67 unique DNA-PK targets phosphorylated in response to various in vitro and/or in vivo stimuli. A functional enrichment analysis of DNA-PK targets and determination of protein–protein associations among them were performed. For 27 proteins from these 67 DNA-PK targets, their participation in the HIV-1 life cycle was demonstrated. This information may be useful for studying the functioning of DNA-PK in various cellular processes, as well as in various stages of HIV-1 replication. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Double-Strand DNA Break Repair and Human Disease)
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Review
The Chromatin Response to Double-Strand DNA Breaks and Their Repair
Cells 2020, 9(8), 1853; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells9081853 - 07 Aug 2020
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1289
Abstract
Cellular DNA is constantly being damaged by numerous internal and external mutagenic factors. Probably the most severe type of insults DNA could suffer are the double-strand DNA breaks (DSBs). They sever both DNA strands and compromise genomic stability, causing deleterious chromosomal aberrations that [...] Read more.
Cellular DNA is constantly being damaged by numerous internal and external mutagenic factors. Probably the most severe type of insults DNA could suffer are the double-strand DNA breaks (DSBs). They sever both DNA strands and compromise genomic stability, causing deleterious chromosomal aberrations that are implicated in numerous maladies, including cancer. Not surprisingly, cells have evolved several DSB repair pathways encompassing hundreds of different DNA repair proteins to cope with this challenge. In eukaryotic cells, DSB repair is fulfilled in the immensely complex environment of the chromatin. The chromatin is not just a passive background that accommodates the multitude of DNA repair proteins, but it is a highly dynamic and active participant in the repair process. Chromatin alterations, such as changing patterns of histone modifications shaped by numerous histone-modifying enzymes and chromatin remodeling, are pivotal for proficient DSB repair. Dynamic chromatin changes ensure accessibility to the damaged region, recruit DNA repair proteins, and regulate their association and activity, contributing to DSB repair pathway choice and coordination. Given the paramount importance of DSB repair in tumorigenesis and cancer progression, DSB repair has turned into an attractive target for the development of novel anticancer therapies, some of which have already entered the clinic. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Double-Strand DNA Break Repair and Human Disease)
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Review
Regulation of Histone Ubiquitination in Response to DNA Double Strand Breaks
Cells 2020, 9(7), 1699; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells9071699 - 16 Jul 2020
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1282
Abstract
Eukaryotic cells are constantly exposed to both endogenous and exogenous stressors that promote the induction of DNA damage. Of this damage, double strand breaks (DSBs) are the most lethal and must be efficiently repaired in order to maintain genomic integrity. Repair of DSBs [...] Read more.
Eukaryotic cells are constantly exposed to both endogenous and exogenous stressors that promote the induction of DNA damage. Of this damage, double strand breaks (DSBs) are the most lethal and must be efficiently repaired in order to maintain genomic integrity. Repair of DSBs occurs primarily through one of two major pathways: non-homologous end joining (NHEJ) or homologous recombination (HR). The choice between these pathways is in part regulated by histone post-translational modifications (PTMs) including ubiquitination. Ubiquitinated histones not only influence transcription and chromatin architecture at sites neighboring DSBs but serve as critical recruitment platforms for repair machinery as well. The reversal of these modifications by deubiquitinating enzymes (DUBs) is increasingly being recognized in a number of cellular processes including DSB repair. In this context, DUBs ensure proper levels of ubiquitin, regulate recruitment of downstream effectors, dictate repair pathway choice, and facilitate appropriate termination of the repair response. This review outlines the current understanding of histone ubiquitination in response to DSBs, followed by a comprehensive overview of the DUBs that catalyze the removal of these marks. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Double-Strand DNA Break Repair and Human Disease)
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Review
A Survey of Reported Disease-Related Mutations in the MRE11-RAD50-NBS1 Complex
Cells 2020, 9(7), 1678; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells9071678 - 13 Jul 2020
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1265
Abstract
The MRE11-RAD50-NBS1 (MRN) protein complex is one of the primary vehicles for repairing DNA double strand breaks and maintaining the genomic stability within the cell. The role of the MRN complex to recognize and process DNA double-strand breaks as well as signal other [...] Read more.
The MRE11-RAD50-NBS1 (MRN) protein complex is one of the primary vehicles for repairing DNA double strand breaks and maintaining the genomic stability within the cell. The role of the MRN complex to recognize and process DNA double-strand breaks as well as signal other damage response factors is critical for maintaining proper cellular function. Mutations in any one of the components of the MRN complex that effect function or expression of the repair machinery could be detrimental to the cell and may initiate and/or propagate disease. Here, we discuss, in a structural and biochemical context, mutations in each of the three MRN components that have been associated with diseases such as ataxia telangiectasia-like disorder (ATLD), Nijmegen breakage syndrome (NBS), NBS-like disorder (NBSLD) and certain types of cancers. Overall, deepening our understanding of disease-causing mutations of the MRN complex at the structural and biochemical level is foundational to the future aim of treating diseases associated with these aberrations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Double-Strand DNA Break Repair and Human Disease)
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Review
Regulation of Error-Prone DNA Double-Strand Break Repair and Its Impact on Genome Evolution
Cells 2020, 9(7), 1657; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells9071657 - 09 Jul 2020
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 1067
Abstract
Double-strand breaks are one of the most deleterious DNA lesions. Their repair via error-prone mechanisms can promote mutagenesis, loss of genetic information, and deregulation of the genome. These detrimental outcomes are significant drivers of human diseases, including many cancers. Mutagenic double-strand break repair [...] Read more.
Double-strand breaks are one of the most deleterious DNA lesions. Their repair via error-prone mechanisms can promote mutagenesis, loss of genetic information, and deregulation of the genome. These detrimental outcomes are significant drivers of human diseases, including many cancers. Mutagenic double-strand break repair also facilitates heritable genetic changes that drive organismal adaptation and evolution. In this review, we discuss the mechanisms of various error-prone DNA double-strand break repair processes and the cellular conditions that regulate them, with a focus on alternative end joining. We provide examples that illustrate how mutagenic double-strand break repair drives genome diversity and evolution. Finally, we discuss how error-prone break repair can be crucial to the induction and progression of diseases such as cancer. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Double-Strand DNA Break Repair and Human Disease)
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Review
Crosstalk between PTEN/PI3K/Akt Signalling and DNA Damage in the Oocyte: Implications for Primordial Follicle Activation, Oocyte Quality and Ageing
Cells 2020, 9(1), 200; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells9010200 - 14 Jan 2020
Cited by 15 | Viewed by 1960
Abstract
The preservation of genome integrity in the mammalian female germline from primordial follicle arrest to activation of growth to oocyte maturation is fundamental to ensure reproductive success. As oocytes are formed before birth and may remain dormant for many years, it is essential [...] Read more.
The preservation of genome integrity in the mammalian female germline from primordial follicle arrest to activation of growth to oocyte maturation is fundamental to ensure reproductive success. As oocytes are formed before birth and may remain dormant for many years, it is essential that defence mechanisms are monitored and well maintained. The phosphatase and tensin homolog of chromosome 10 (PTEN)/phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K)/protein kinase B (PKB, Akt) is a major signalling pathway governing primordial follicle recruitment and growth. This pathway also contributes to cell growth, survival and metabolism, and to the maintenance of genomic integrity. Accelerated primordial follicle activation through this pathway may result in a compromised DNA damage response (DDR). Additionally, the distinct DDR mechanisms in oocytes may become less efficient with ageing. This review considers DNA damage surveillance mechanisms and their links to the PTEN/PI3K/Akt signalling pathway, impacting on the DDR during growth activation of primordial follicles, and in ovarian ageing. Targeting DDR mechanisms within oocytes may be of value in developing techniques to protect ovaries against chemotherapy and in advancing clinical approaches to regulate primordial follicle activation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Double-Strand DNA Break Repair and Human Disease)
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