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    ABSTRACT: The ARF tumour suppressor protein, the gene of which is frequently mutated in many human cancers, plays an important role in the cellular stress response by orchestrating up-regulation of p53 protein and consequently promoting cell-cycle delay. Although p53 protein function has been clearly linked to the cellular DNA damage response, the role of ARF protein in this process is unclear. Here, we report that arf gene transcription is induced by DNA strand breaks (SBs) and that ARF protein accumulates in response to persistent DNA damage. We discovered that poly(ADP-ribose) synthesis catalysed by PARP1 at the sites of unrepaired SBs activates ARF transcription through a protein signalling cascade, including the NAD+-dependent deacetylase SIRT1 and the transcription factor E2F1. Our data suggest that poly(ADP-ribose) synthesis at the sites of SBs initiates DNA damage signal transduction by reducing the cellular concentration of NAD+, thus down-regulating SIRT1 activity and consequently activating E2F1-dependent ARF transcription. Our findings suggest a vital role for ARF in DNA damage signalling, and furthermore explain the critical requirement for ARF inactivation in cancer cells, which are frequently deficient in DNA repair and accumulate DNA damage.
    Full-text · Article · Nov 2013 · Nucleic Acids Research
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    ABSTRACT: ATM-mediated signaling in response to DNA damage is a barrier to tumorigenesis. Here we asked whether replication stress could also contribute to ATM signaling. We demonstrate that, in the absence of DNA damage, ATM responds to replication stress in a hypoxia-induced heterochromatin-like context. In certain hypoxic conditions, replication stress occurs in the absence of detectable DNA damage. Hypoxia also induces H3K9me3, a histone modification associated with gene repression and heterochromatin. Hypoxia-induced replication stress together with increased H3K9me3 leads to ATM activation. Importantly, ATM prevents the accumulation of DNA damage in hypoxia. Most significantly, we describe a stress-specific role for ATM in maintaining DNA replication rates in a background of increased H3K9me3. Furthermore, the ATM-mediated response to oncogene-induced replication stress is enhanced in hypoxic conditions. Together, these data indicate that hypoxia plays a critical role in the activation of the DNA damage response, therefore contributing to this barrier to tumorigenesis.
    Full-text · Article · Nov 2013 · Molecular cell
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    ABSTRACT: Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is characterised by an abundant stromal response also known as a desmoplastic reaction. Pancreatic stellate cells have been identified as playing a key role in pancreatic cancer desmoplasia. There is accumulating evidence that the stroma contributes to tumour progression and to the low therapeutic response of PDAC patients. In this review we described the main actors of the desmoplastic reaction within PDAC and novel therapeutic approaches that are being tested to block the detrimental function of the stroma.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2013 · Cancer letters
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