André Nussenzweig

National Institutes of Health, Maryland, United States

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Publications (138)2133.92 Total impact

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    Petra Wessendorf, Jan Vijg, André Nussenzweig, Martin Digweed
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    ABSTRACT: Nibrin (NBN) is a member of a DNA repair complex together with MRE11 and RAD50. The complex is associated particularly with the repair of DNA double strand breaks and with the regulation of cell cycle check points. Hypomorphic mutation of components of the complex leads to human disorders characterised by radiosensitivity and increased tumour occurrence, particularly of the lymphatic system. We have examined here the relationship between DNA damage, mutation frequency and mutation spectrum in vitro and in vivo in mouse models carrying NBN mutations and a lacZ reporter plasmid. We find that NBN mutation leads to increased spontaneous DNA damage in fibroblasts in vitro and high basal mutation rates in lymphatic tissue of mice in vivo. The characteristic mutation spectrum is dominated by single base transitions rather than the deletions and complex rearrangements expected after abortive repair of DNA double strand breaks. We conclude that in the absence of wild type nibrin, the repair of spontaneous errors, presumably arising during DNA replication, make a major contribution to the basal mutation rate. This applies also to cells heterozygous for an NBN null mutation. Mutation frequencies after irradiation in vivo were not increased in mice with nibrin mutations as might have been expected considering the radiosensitivity of NBS patient cells in vitro. Evidently apoptosis is efficient, even in the absence of wild type nibrin.
    Mutation Research/Fundamental and Molecular Mechanisms of Mutagenesis 11/2014; · 3.90 Impact Factor
  • Jacqueline H Barlow, André Nussenzweig
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    ABSTRACT: Nuclear DNA replication requires the concerted action of hundreds of proteins to efficiently unwind and duplicate the entire genome while also retaining epigenetic regulatory information. Initiation of DNA replication is tightly regulated, rapidly firing thousands of origins once the conditions to promote rapid and faithful replication are in place, and defects in replication initiation lead to proliferation defects, genome instability, and a range of developmental abnormalities. Interestingly, DNA replication in metazoans initiates in actively transcribed DNA, meaning that replication initiation occurs in DNA that is co-occupied with tens of thousands of poised and active RNA polymerase complexes. Active transcription can induce genome instability, particularly during DNA replication, as RNA polymerases can induce torsional stress, formation of secondary structures, and act as a physical barrier to other enzymes involved in DNA metabolism. Here we discuss the challenges facing mammalian DNA replication, their impact on genome instability, and the development of cancer.
    Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences CMLS 09/2014; · 5.62 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Self-renewal is the hallmark feature both of normal stem cells and cancer stem cells. Since the regenerative capacity of normal haematopoietic stem cells is limited by the accumulation of reactive oxygen species and DNA double-strand breaks, we speculated that DNA damage might also constrain leukaemic self-renewal and malignant haematopoiesis. Here we show that the histone methyl-transferase MLL4, a suppressor of B-cell lymphoma, is required for stem-cell activity and an aggressive form of acute myeloid leukaemia harbouring the MLL-AF9 oncogene. Deletion of MLL4 enhances myelopoiesis and myeloid differentiation of leukaemic blasts, which protects mice from death related to acute myeloid leukaemia. MLL4 exerts its function by regulating transcriptional programs associated with the antioxidant response. Addition of reactive oxygen species scavengers or ectopic expression of FOXO3 protects MLL4(-/-) MLL-AF9 cells from DNA damage and inhibits myeloid maturation. Similar to MLL4 deficiency, loss of ATM or BRCA1 sensitizes transformed cells to differentiation, suggesting that myeloid differentiation is promoted by loss of genome integrity. Indeed, we show that restriction-enzyme-induced double-strand breaks are sufficient to induce differentiation of MLL-AF9 blasts, which requires cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor p21(Cip1) (Cdkn1a) activity. In summary, we have uncovered an unexpected tumour-promoting role of genome guardians in enforcing the oncogene-induced differentiation blockade in acute myeloid leukaemia.
    Nature 07/2014; · 38.60 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Homologous recombination (HR) is initiated by DNA end resection, a process in which stretches of single-strand DNA (ssDNA) are generated and used for homology search. Factors implicated in resection include nucleases MRE11, EXO1, and DNA2, which process DNA ends into 3' ssDNA overhangs; helicases such as BLM, which unwind DNA; and other proteins such as BRCA1 and CtIP whose functions remain unclear. CDK-mediated phosphorylation of CtIP on T847 is required to promote resection, whereas CDK-dependent phosphorylation of CtIP-S327 is required for interaction with BRCA1. Here, we provide evidence that CtIP functions independently of BRCA1 in promoting DSB end resection. First, using mouse models expressing S327A or T847A mutant CtIP as a sole species, and B cells deficient in CtIP, we show that loss of the CtIP-BRCA1 interaction does not detectably affect resection, maintenance of genomic stability or viability, whereas T847 is essential for these functions. Second, although loss of 53BP1 rescues the embryonic lethality and HR defects in BRCA1-deficient mice, it does not restore viability or genome integrity in CtIP(-/-) mice. Third, the increased resection afforded by loss of 53BP1 and the rescue of BRCA1-deficiency depend on CtIP but not EXO1. Finally, the sensitivity of BRCA1-deficient cells to poly ADP ribose polymerase (PARP) inhibition is partially rescued by the phospho-mimicking mutant CtIP (CtIP-T847E). Thus, in contrast to BRCA1, CtIP has indispensable roles in promoting resection and embryonic development.
    The Journal of experimental medicine. 05/2014;
  • Grzegorz Ira, André Nussenzweig
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    ABSTRACT: Rif1 protein is present in eukaryotic cells from yeast to human. In yeast, Rif1 is important for telomere homeostasis. Despite conservation in its domain organization, human Rif1 is not part of the telomere complex but was recently reported to work at DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs) with 53BP1 to inhibit 5' strand degradation (resection) and stimulate a subset of nonhomologous end-joining (NHEJ) reactions. Martina et al [1] report in this issue of EMBO reports that yeast Rif1 is also recruited to DSBs, but in contrast to its human counterpart, it promotes resection. The authors propose that Rif1 stimulates resection by limiting the access of Rad9, an ortholog of 53BP1, to DSBs.
    EMBO Reports 04/2014; · 7.19 Impact Factor
  • Oscar Fernandez-Capetillo, André Nussenzweig
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    ABSTRACT: Stalled replication forks occasionally collapse, leading to potentially catastrophic DNA double-strand breaks. Now, Toledo et al. (2013) reveal that fork breakage occurs when the pool of the single-strand DNA-binding protein RPA becomes exhausted. This study has important implications for the origin and treatment of cancers with high levels of replicative stress.
    Cell 11/2013; 155(5):979-980. · 31.96 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: V(D)J recombination is initiated by the RAG endonuclease, which introduces DNA double strand breaks (DSBs) at the border between two recombining gene segments, generating two hairpin-sealed coding ends and two blunt signal ends. ATM and DNA-PKcs are serine-threonine kinases that orchestrate the cellular responses to DNA double strand breaks (DSBs). During V(D)J recombination, ATM and DNA-PKcs have unique functions in the repair of coding DNA ends. ATM deficiency leads to instability of post-cleavage complexes and the loss of coding ends from these complexes. DNA-PKcs deficiency leads to a nearly complete block in coding join formation, as DNA-PKcs is required to activate Artemis, the endonuclease that opens hairpin-sealed coding ends. In contrast to loss of DNA-PKcs protein, here we show that inhibition of DNA-PKcs kinase activity has no effect on coding join formation when ATM is present and its kinase activity is intact. The ability of ATM to compensate for DNA-PKcs kinase activity depends on the integrity of three threonines in DNA-PKcs that are phosphorylation targets of ATM, suggesting that ATM can modulate DNA-PKcs activity through direct phosphorylation of DNA-PKcs. Mutation of these threonine residues to alanine (DNA-PKcs(3A)) renders DNA-PKcs dependent on its intrinsic kinase activity during coding end joining at a step downstream of opening hairpin-sealed coding ends. Thus, DNA-PKcs has critical functions in coding end joining beyond promoting Artemis endonuclease activity, and these functions can be redundantly regulated by the kinase activities of either ATM or DNA-PKcs.
    Molecular and cellular biology 07/2013; · 6.06 Impact Factor
  • Samuel F Bunting, Andre Nussenzweig
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    ABSTRACT: Fusion genes that are caused by chromosome translocations have been recognized for several decades as drivers of deregulated cell growth in certain types of cancer. In recent years, oncogenic fusion genes have been found in many haematological and solid tumours, demonstrating that translocations are a common cause of malignancy. Sequencing approaches have now confirmed that numerous, non-clonal translocations are a typical feature of cancer cells. These chromosome rearrangements are often highly complex and contain DNA sequence from multiple genomic sites. The factors and pathways that promote translocations are becoming clearer, with non-homologous end-joining implicated as a key source of genomic rearrangements.
    Nature Reviews Cancer 06/2013; · 29.54 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The DNA damage response (DDR) protein 53BP1 protects DNA ends from excessive resection in G1, and thereby favors repair by nonhomologous end-joining (NHEJ) as opposed to homologous recombination (HR). During S phase, BRCA1 antagonizes 53BP1 to promote HR. The pro-NHEJ and antirecombinase functions of 53BP1 are mediated in part by RIF1, the only known factor that requires 53BP1 phosphorylation for its recruitment to double-strand breaks (DSBs). Here, we show that a 53BP1 phosphomutant, 53BP1(8A), comprising alanine substitutions of the eight most N-terminal S/TQ phosphorylation sites, mimics 53BP1 deficiency by restoring genome stability in BRCA1-deficient cells yet behaves like wild-type 53BP1 with respect to immunoglobulin class switch recombination (CSR). 53BP1(8A) recruits RIF1 but fails to recruit the DDR protein PTIP to DSBs, and disruption of PTIP phenocopies 53BP1(8A). We conclude that 53BP1 promotes productive CSR and suppresses mutagenic DNA repair through distinct phosphodependent interactions with RIF1 and PTIP.
    Cell 05/2013; · 31.96 Impact Factor
  • Jeremy A Daniel, André Nussenzweig
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    ABSTRACT: Chemical modifications to the DNA and histone protein components of chromatin can modulate gene expression and genome stability. Understanding the physiological impact of changes in chromatin structure remains an important question in biology. As one example, in order to generate antibody diversity with somatic hypermutation and class switch recombination, chromatin must be made accessible for activation-induced cytidine deaminase (AID)-mediated deamination of cytosines in DNA. These lesions are recognized and removed by various DNA repair pathways but, if not handled properly, can lead to formation of oncogenic chromosomal translocations. In this review, we focus the discussion on how chromatin-modifying activities and -binding proteins contribute to the native chromatin environment in which AID-induced DNA damage is targeted and repaired. Outstanding questions remain regarding the direct roles of histone posttranslational modifications and the significance of AID function outside of antibody diversity.
    Molecular cell 05/2013; 50(3):309-21. · 14.61 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Germ-line mutations in PALB2 lead to a familial predisposition to breast and pancreatic cancer or to Fanconi Anemia subtype N. PALB2 performs its tumor suppressor role, at least in part, by supporting homologous recombination-type double strand break repair (HR-DSBR) through physical interactions with BRCA1, BRCA2, and RAD51. To further understand the mechanisms underlying PALB2-mediated DNA repair and tumor suppression functions, we targeted Palb2 in the mouse. Palb2-deficient murine ES cells recapitulated DNA damage defects caused by PALB2 depletion in human cells, and germ-line deletion of Palb2 led to early embryonic lethality. Somatic deletion of Palb2 driven by K14-Cre led to mammary tumor formation with long latency. Codeletion of both Palb2 and Tumor protein 53 (Trp53) accelerated mammary tumor formation. Like BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutant breast cancers, these tumors were defective in RAD51 focus formation, reflecting a defect in Palb2 HR-DSBR function, a strongly suspected contributor to Brca1, Brca2, and Palb2 mammary tumor development. However, unlike the case of Brca1-mutant cells, Trp53bp1 deletion failed to rescue the genomic instability of Palb2- or Brca2-mutant primary lymphocytes. Therefore, Palb2-driven DNA damage control is, in part, distinct from that executed by Brca1 and more similar to that of Brca2. The mechanisms underlying Palb2 mammary tumor suppression functions can now be explored genetically in vivo.
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 05/2013; · 9.81 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs) in B lymphocytes arise stochastically during replication or as a result of targeted DNA damage by activation-induced cytidine deaminase (AID). Here we identify recurrent, early replicating, and AID-independent DNA lesions, termed early replication fragile sites (ERFSs), by genome-wide localization of DNA repair proteins in B cells subjected to replication stress. ERFSs colocalize with highly expressed gene clusters and are enriched for repetitive elements and CpG dinucleotides. Although distinct from late-replicating common fragile sites (CFS), the stability of ERFSs and CFSs is similarly dependent on the replication-stress response kinase ATR. ERFSs break spontaneously during replication, but their fragility is increased by hydroxyurea, ATR inhibition, or deregulated c-Myc expression. Moreover, greater than 50% of recurrent amplifications/deletions in human diffuse large B cell lymphoma map to ERFSs. In summary, we have identified a source of spontaneous DNA lesions that drives instability at preferred genomic sites.
    Cell 01/2013; · 31.96 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs) represent a threat to the genome because they can lead to loss of genetic information and chromosome rearrangements. The DNA repair protein p53 binding protein 1 (53BP1) protects the genome by limiting nucleolytic processing of DSBs by a mechanism that requires its phosphorylation, but whether it does so directly is not known. Here, we identify Rapl-interacting factor 1 (Rif1) as an Ataxia-Telangiectasia Mutated (ATM) phosphorylation-dependent interactor of 53BP1, and show that absence of Rif1 results in 5'-3' DNA end resection in mice. Consistent with enhanced DNA resection, Rif1 deficiency impairs DNA repair in the G1 and S phases of the cell cycle, interferes with class switch recombination in B lymphocytes, and leads to accumulation of chromosome DSBs.
    Science 01/2013; · 31.20 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Activation-induced cytidine deaminase (AID) promotes chromosomal translocations by inducing DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs) at immunoglobulin (Ig) genes and oncogenes in the G1 phase. RPA is a single-stranded DNA (ssDNA)-binding protein that associates with resected DSBs in the S phase and facilitates the assembly of factors involved in homologous repair (HR), such as Rad51. Notably, RPA deposition also marks sites of AID-mediated damage, but its role in Ig gene recombination remains unclear. Here, we demonstrate that RPA associates asymmetrically with resected ssDNA in response to lesions created by AID, recombination-activating genes (RAG), or other nucleases. Small amounts of RPA are deposited at AID targets in G1 in an ATM-dependent manner. In contrast, recruitment in the S-G2/M phase is extensive, ATM independent, and associated with Rad51 accumulation. In the S-G2/M phase, RPA increases in nonhomologous-end-joining-deficient lymphocytes, where there is more extensive DNA-end resection. Thus, most RPA recruitment during class switch recombination represents salvage of unrepaired breaks by homology-based pathways during the S-G2/M phase of the cell cycle.
    Cell Reports 01/2013; · 7.21 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs) are byproducts of normal cellular metabolism and obligate intermediates in antigen receptor diversification reactions. These lesions are potentially dangerous because they can lead to deletion of genetic material or chromosome translocation. The chromatin-binding protein 53BP1 and the histone variant H2AX are required for efficient class switch (CSR) and V(D)J recombination in part because they protect DNA ends from resection and thereby favor nonhomologous end joining (NHEJ). Here, we examine the mechanism of DNA end resection in primary B cells. We find that resection depends on both CtBP-interacting protein (CtIP, Rbbp8) and exonuclease 1 (Exo1). Inhibition of CtIP partially rescues the CSR defect in 53BP1- and H2AX-deficient lymphocytes, as does interference with the RecQ helicases Bloom (Blm) and Werner (Wrn). We conclude that CtIP, Exo1, and RecQ helicases contribute to the metabolism of DNA ends during DSB repair in B lymphocytes and that minimizing resection favors efficient CSR.
    Journal of Experimental Medicine 12/2012; · 13.21 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Sex chromosomes are uniquely subject to chromosome-wide silencing during male meiosis, and silencing persists into post-meiotic spermatids. Against this background, a select set of sex chromosome-linked genes escapes silencing and is activated in post-meiotic spermatids. Here, we identify a novel mechanism that regulates escape gene activation in an environment of chromosome-wide silencing in murine germ cells. We show that RNF8-dependent ubiquitination of histone H2A during meiosis establishes active epigenetic modifications, including dimethylation of H3K4 on the sex chromosomes. RNF8-dependent active epigenetic memory, defined by dimethylation of H3K4, persists throughout meiotic division. Various active epigenetic modifications are subsequently established on the sex chromosomes in post-meiotic spermatids. These RNF8-dependent modifications include trimethylation of H3K4, histone lysine crotonylation (Kcr), and incorporation of the histone variant H2AFZ. RNF8-dependent epigenetic programming regulates escape gene activation from inactive sex chromosomes in post-meiotic spermatids. Kcr accumulates at transcriptional start sites of sex-linked genes activated in an RNF8-dependent manner, and a chromatin conformational change is associated with RNF8-dependent epigenetic programming. Furthermore, we demonstrate that this RNF8-dependent pathway is distinct from that which recognizes DNA double-strand breaks. Our results establish a novel connection between a DNA damage response factor (RNF8) and epigenetic programming, specifically in establishing active epigenetic modifications and gene activation.
    Genes & development 12/2012; 26(24):2737-48. · 12.08 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Histone 3 lysine 4 trimethylation (H3K4me3) is associated with promoters of active genes and found at hot spots for DNA recombination. Here we have shown that PAXIP1 (also known as PTIP), a protein associated with MLL3 and MLL4 methyltransferase and the DNA damage response, regulates RAG-mediated cleavage and repair during V(D)J recombination in CD4(+) CD8(+) DP thymocytes. Loss of PAXIP1 in developing thymocytes diminished Jα H3K4me3 and germline transcription, suppressed double strand break formation at 3' Jα segments, but resulted in accumulation of unresolved T cell receptor α-chain gene (Tcra) breaks. Moreover, PAXIP1 was essential for release of mature single positive (SP) αβ T cells from the thymus through transcriptional activation of sphingosine-1-phosphate receptor S1pr1 as well as for natural killer T cell development. Thus, in addition to maintaining genome integrity during Tcra rearrangements, PAXIP1 controls distinct transcriptional programs during DP differentiation necessary for Tcra locus accessibility, licensing mature thymocytes for trafficking and natural killer T cell development.
    Immunity 11/2012; · 19.80 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: RING finger nuclear factor 168 (RNF168) is required for recruitment of several DNA damage response factors to double strand breaks (DSBs), including 53BP1 and BRCA1. Since 53BP1 and BRCA1 function antagonistically during the DSB repair pathway homologous recombination (HR), the influence of RNF168 on HR has been unclear. We report that RNF168 depletion causes an elevated frequency of two distinct HR pathways (homology-directed repair and single strand annealing), suppresses defects in HR caused by BRCA1 silencing, but does not suppress HR defects caused by disruption of CtIP, RAD50, BRCA2, or RAD51. Furthermore, RNF168 depleted cells can form ionizing radiation induced foci (IRIF) of the recombinase RAD51 without forming BRCA1 IRIF, indicating that this loss of BRCA1 recruitment to DSBs does not reflect a loss of function during HR. Additionally, we find that RNF168 and 53BP1 have a similar influence on HR. We suggest that RNF168 is important for HR defects caused by BRCA1 loss.
    Journal of Biological Chemistry 10/2012; · 4.65 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Human single-stranded DNA-binding protein 1 (hSSB1), encoded by OBFC2B, was recently characterized as an essential factor for the initiation of DNA damage checkpoints and the maintenance of genomic stability. Here, we report that loss of Obfc2b in mice results in perinatal lethality characterized by growth delay and skeletal abnormalities. These abnormalities are associated with accumulation of γH2ax, apoptosis and defective pre-cartilage condensation, which is essential for normal bone formation. However, deficiency of Obfc2b does not affect the initiation of DNA damage checkpoints, Atm activation, or the maintenance of genomic stability in B lymphocytes and primary fibroblasts. Loss of Obfc2b results in increased expression of its homologue Obfc2a (hSSB2). In contrast to Obfc2b deficiency, depletion of Obfc2a in fibroblasts results in impaired proliferation, accumulation of γH2ax and increased genomic instability. Thus, the hSSB1 orthologue Obfc2b has a unique function during embryogenesis limited to cell types that contribute to bone formation. While being dispensable in most other cell lineages, its absence leads to a compensatory increase in Obfc2a protein, a homologue required for the maintenance of genomic integrity.
    The EMBO Journal 08/2012; 31(20):4045-56. · 9.82 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Ataxia telangiectasia (A-T) mutated (ATM) is a key deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) damage signaling kinase that regulates DNA repair, cell cycle checkpoints, and apoptosis. The majority of patients with A-T, a cancer-prone neurodegenerative disease, present with null mutations in Atm. To determine whether the functions of ATM are mediated solely by its kinase activity, we generated two mouse models containing single, catalytically inactivating point mutations in Atm. In this paper, we show that, in contrast to Atm-null mice, both D2899A and Q2740P mutations cause early embryonic lethality in mice, without displaying dominant-negative interfering activity. Using conditional deletion, we find that the D2899A mutation in adult mice behaves largely similar to Atm-null cells but shows greater deficiency in homologous recombination (HR) as measured by hypersensitivity to poly (adenosine diphosphate-ribose) polymerase inhibition and increased genomic instability. These results may explain why missense mutations with no detectable kinase activity are rarely found in patients with classical A-T. We propose that ATM kinase-inactive missense mutations, unless otherwise compensated for, interfere with HR during embryogenesis.
    The Journal of Cell Biology 08/2012; 198(3):295-304. · 10.82 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

12k Citations
2,133.92 Total Impact Points


  • 2001–2014
    • National Institutes of Health
      • • Laboratory of Genome Integrity
      • • Laboratory of Receptor Biology and Gene Expression
      • • Branch of Experimental Immunology
      • • Branch of Genetics
      Maryland, United States
    • National Cancer Institute (USA)
      • • Laboratory of Genome Integrity
      • • Experimental Immunology Branch
      Maryland, United States
  • 2013
    • University of Copenhagen
      • The Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Protein Research
      Copenhagen, Capital Region, Denmark
    • Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
      • Center for Advanced Biotechnology and Medicine
      New Brunswick, NJ, United States
  • 2006–2013
    • Centro Nacional de Investigaciones Oncológicas
      Madrid, Madrid, Spain
    • Universidad Autónoma de Madrid
      Madrid, Madrid, Spain
  • 1998–2013
    • The Rockefeller University
      • Laboratory of Molecular Immunology
      New York City, NY, United States
  • 2011
    • University of Rome Tor Vergata
      Roma, Latium, Italy
  • 2010
    • National Eye Institute
      Maryland, United States
    • Harvard Medical School
      • Department of Genetics
      Boston, MA, United States
  • 2009
    • Howard Hughes Medical Institute
      Ashburn, Virginia, United States
  • 2008
    • National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases
      Maryland, United States
  • 2007
    • University of Sussex
      • Centre for Genome Damage and Stability
      Brighton, ENG, United Kingdom
  • 2005–2006
    • Mayo Clinic - Rochester
      • Department of Oncology
      Rochester, MN, United States
  • 1995–1999
    • Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center
      • Department of Medical Physics
      New York City, New York, United States