CtIP promotes microhomology-mediated alternative end joining during class-switch recombination.

Immunology Program, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, New York, USA.
Nature Structural & Molecular Biology (Impact Factor: 11.63). 01/2011; 18(1):75-9. DOI: 10.1038/nsmb.1942
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Immunoglobulin heavy chain (Igh locus) class-switch recombination (CSR) requires targeted introduction of DNA double strand breaks (DSBs) into repetitive 'switch'-region DNA elements in the Igh locus and subsequent ligation between distal DSBs. Both canonical nonhomologous end joining (C-NHEJ) that seals DNA ends with little or no homology and a poorly defined alternative end joining (A-NHEJ, also known as alt-NHEJ) process that requires microhomology ends for ligation have been implicated in CSR. Here, we show that the DNA end-processing factor CtIP is required for microhomology-directed A-NHEJ during CSR. Additionally, we demonstrate that microhomology joins that are enriched upon depletion of the C-NHEJ component Ku70 require CtIP. Finally, we show that CtIP binds to switch-region DNA in a fashion dependent on activation-induced cytidine deaminase. Our results establish CtIP as a bona fide component of microhomology-dependent A-NHEJ and unmask a hitherto unrecognized physiological role of microhomology-mediated end joining in a C-NHEJ-proficient environment.

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