Experimental design, validation and computational modeling uncover DNA damage sensing by DNA-PK and ATM
Reliable and efficient detection of DNA damage constitutes a vital capability of human cells to maintain genome stability. Following DNA damage, the histone variant H2AX becomes rapidly phosphorylated by the DNA damage response kinases DNA-PKcs and ATM. H2AX phosphorylation plays a central role in signal amplification leading to chromatin remodeling and DNA repair initiation. The contribution of DNA-PKcs and ATM to H2AX phosphorylation is however puzzling. Although ATM is required, DNA-PKcs can substitute for it. Here we analyze the interplay between DNA-PKcs and ATM with a computational model derived by an iterative workflow: switching between experimental design, experiment and model analysis, we generated an extensive set of time-resolved data and identified a conclusive dynamic signaling model out of several alternatives. Our work shows that DNA-PKcs and ATM enforce a biphasic H2AX phosphorylation. DNA-PKcs can be associated to the initial, and ATM to the succeeding phosphorylation phase of H2AX resulting into a signal persistence detection function for reliable damage sensing. Further, our model predictions emphasize that DNA-PKcs inhibition significantly delays H2AX phosphorylation and associated DNA repair initiation.
- This article is part of the themed collection: 2014 Hot Articles in Molecular BioSystems