Synthetic lethality between murine DNA repair factors XLF and DNA-PKcs is rescued by inactivation of Ku70
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionDNA Repair. 2017, 57 133-138. 10.1016/j.dnarep.2017.07.008
DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs) are recognized and repaired by the Classical Non-Homologous End-Joining (C-NHEJ) and Homologous Recombination pathways. C-NHEJ includes the core Ku70 and Ku80 (or Ku86) heterodimer that binds DSBs and thus promotes recruitment of accessory downstream NHEJ factors XLF, PAXX, DNA-PKcs, Artemis and other core subunits, XRCC4 and DNA Ligase 4 (Lig4). In the absence of core C-NHEJ factors, DNA repair can be performed by Alternative End-Joining, which likely depends on DNA Ligase 1 and DNA Ligase 3. Genetic inactivation of C-NHEJ factors, such as Ku70, Ku80, XLF, PAXX and DNA-PKcs results in viable mice showing increased levels of genomic instability and sensitivity to DSBs. Knockouts of XRCC4 or Lig4, on the other hand, as well as combined inactivation of XLF and DNA-PKcs, or XLF and PAXX, result in late embryonic lethality in mice, which in most cases correlate with severe apoptosis in the central nervous system. Here, we demonstrate that inactivation of the Ku70 gene rescues the synthetic lethality between XLF and DNA-PKcs, resulting in triple knockout mice that are indistinguishable from Ku70-deficient littermates by size or levels of genomic instability. Moreover, we find that combined inactivation of Ku70 and XLF results in viable mice. Together, these findings suggest that Ku70 is epistatic with XLF and DNA-PKcs and support a model in which inactivation of Ku70 allows DNA lesions to become accessible to alternative DNA repair pathways.