Chromatin and the DNA damage response: the cancer connection.
ABSTRACT The integrity of the human genome is constantly threatened by genotoxic agents that cause DNA damage. Inefficient or inaccurate repair of DNA lesions triggers genome instability and can lead to cancer development or even cell death. Cells counteract the adverse effects of DNA lesions by activating the DNA damage response (DDR), which entails a coordinated series of events that regulates cell cycle progression and repair of DNA lesions. Efficient DNA repair in living cells is complicated by the packaging of genomic DNA into a condensed, often inaccessible structure called chromatin. Cells utilize post-translational histone modifications and ATP-dependent chromatin remodeling to modulate chromatin structure and increase the accessibility of the repair machinery to lesions embedded in chromatin. Here we review and discuss our current knowledge and recent advances on DNA damage-induced chromatin changes and their implications for the mammalian DNA damage response, genome stability and carcinogenesis. Exploiting our improving understanding of how modulators of chromatin structure orchestrate the DDR may provide new avenues to improve cancer management.
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ABSTRACT: The maintenance of genomic integrity requires the precise identification and repair of DNA damage. Since DNA is packaged and condensed into higher order chromatin, the events associated with DNA damage recognition and repair are orchestrated within the layers of chromatin. Very similar to transcription, during DNA repair, chromatin remodelling events and histone modifications act in concert to 'open' and relax chromatin structure so that repair proteins can gain access to DNA damage sites. One such histone mark critical for maintaining chromatin structure is acetylated lysine 16 of histone H4 (AcH4K16), a modification that can disrupt higher order chromatin organization and convert it into a more 'relaxed' configuration. We have recently shown that impaired H4K16 acetylation delays the accumulation of repair proteins to double strand break (DSB) sites which results in defective genome maintenance and accelerated aging in a laminopathy-based premature aging mouse model. These results support the idea that epigenetic factors may directly contribute to genomic instability and aging by regulating the efficiency of DSB repair. In this article, the interplay between epigenetic misregulation, defective DNA repair and aging is discussed.Aging 10/2011; 3(10):943-54. · 5.13 Impact Factor