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1.  Fidelity of end joining in mammalian episomes and the impact of Metnase on joint processing 
Background
Double Stranded Breaks (DSBs) are the most serious form of DNA damage and are repaired via homologous recombination repair (HRR) or non-homologous end joining (NHEJ). NHEJ predominates in mammalian cells at most stages of the cell cycle, and it is viewed as ‘error-prone’, although this notion has not been sufficiently challenged due to shortcomings of many current systems. Multi-copy episomes provide a large pool of genetic material where repair can be studied, as repaired plasmids can be back-cloned into bacteria and characterized for sequence alterations. Here, we used EBV-based episomes carrying 3 resistance marker genes in repair studies where a single DSB is generated with virally-encoded HO endonuclease cleaving rapidly at high efficiency for a brief time post-infection. We employed PCR and Southern blot to follow the kinetics of repair and formation of processing intermediates, and replica plating to screen for plasmids with altered joints resulting in loss of chloramphenicol resistance. Further, we employed this system to study the role of Metnase. Metnase is only found in humans and primates and is a key component of the NHEJ pathway, but its function is not fully characterized in intact cells.
Results
We found that repair of episomes by end-joining was highly accurate in 293 T cells that lack Metnase. Less than 10% of the rescued plasmids showed deletions. Instead, HEK293 cells (that do express Metnase) or 293 T transfected with Metnase revealed a large number of rescued plasmids with altered repaired joint, typically in the form of large deletions. Moreover, quantitative PCR and Southern blotting revealed less accurately repaired plasmids in Metnase expressing cells.
Conclusions
Our careful re-examination of fidelity of NHEJ repair in mammalian cells carrying a 3′ cohesive overhang at the ends revealed that the repair is efficient and highly accurate, and predominant over HRR. However, the background of the cells is important in establishing accuracy; with human cells perhaps surprisingly much more prone to generate deletions at the repaired junctions, if/when Metnase is abundantly expressed.
doi:10.1186/1471-2199-15-6
PMCID: PMC3998112  PMID: 24655462
Accuracy of DSB repair in mammalian cells; Episomal model of NHEJ; End- processing and re-ligation; Metnase nuclease; Joint accuracy
2.  TLK1B promotes repair of DSBs via its interaction with Rad9 and Asf1 Caroline Canfield, Justin Rains, and Arrigo De Benedetti 
BMC Molecular Biology  2009;10:110.
Background
The Tousled-like kinases are involved in chromatin assembly, DNA repair, transcription, and chromosome segregation. Previous evidence indicated that TLK1B can promote repair of plasmids with cohesive ends in vitro, but it was inferred that the mechanism was indirect and via chromatin assembly, mediated by its interaction with the chromatin assembly factor Asf1. We recently identified Rad9 as a substrate of TLK1B, and we presented evidence that the TLK1B-Rad9 interaction plays some role in DSB repair. Hence the relative contribution of Asf1 and Rad9 to the protective effect of TLK1B in DSBs repair is not known. Using an adeno-HO-mediated cleavage system in MM3MG cells, we previously showed that overexpression of either TLK1B or a kinase-dead protein (KD) promoted repair and the assembly of Rad9 in proximity of the DSB at early time points post-infection. This established that it is a chaperone activity of TLK1B and not directly the kinase activity that promotes recruitment of 9-1-1 to the DSB. However, the phosphorylation of Rad9(S328) by TLK1B appeared important for mediating a cell cycle checkpoint, and thus, this phosphorylation of Rad9 may have other effects on 9-1-1 functionality.
Results
Here we present direct evidence that TLK1B can promote repair of linearized plasmids with incompatible ends that require processing prior to ligation. Immunodepletion of Rad9 indicated that Rad9 was important for processing the ends preceding ligation, suggesting that the interaction of TLK1B with Rad9 is a key mediator for this type of repair. Ligation of incompatible ends also required DNA-PK, as addition of wortmannin or immunodepletion of Ku70 abrogated ligation. Depletion of Ku70 prevented the ligation of the plasmid but did not affect stimulation of the fill-in of the ends by added TLK1B, which was attributed to Rad9. From experiments with the HO-cleavage system, we now show that Rad17, a subunit of the "clamp loader", associates normally with the DSB in KD-overexpressing cells. However, the subsequent release of Rad17 and Rad9 upon repair of the DSB was significantly slower in these cells compared to controls or cells expressing wt-TLK1B.
Conclusions
TLKs play important roles in DNA repair, not only by modulation of chromatin assembly via Asf1, but also by a more direct function in processing the ends of a DSB via interaction with Rad9. Inhibition of Rad9 phosphorylation in KD-overexpressing cells may have consequences in signaling completion of the repair and cell cycle re-entry, and could explain a loss of viability from DSBs in these cells.
doi:10.1186/1471-2199-10-110
PMCID: PMC2803485  PMID: 20021694
3.  TLK1B promotes repair of UV-damaged DNA through chromatin remodeling by Asf1 
Background
The mammalian protein kinase TLK1 is a homologue of Tousled, a gene involved in flower development in Arabidopsis thaliana. The function of TLK1 is not well known, although knockout of the gene in Drosophila, or expression of a dominant negative mutant in mouse mammary cells causes loss of nuclear divisions and chromosome mis-segregation. TLK1B is a splice variant of TLK1 and it confers radioresistance in a normal mammary mouse cell line possibly due to increased chromatin remodeling capacity, but the mechanism of resistance remains to be fully elucidated.
Results
We now show that TLK1B also affords protection against UV radiation. We find that nuclear extracts isolated from TLK1B-containing mouse cells promote more efficient chromatin assembly than comparable extracts lacking TLK1B. TLK1B-containing extracts are also more efficient in repair of UV-damaged plasmid DNA assembled into nucleosomes. One of the two known substrates of TLK1 (or TLK1B) is the histone chaperone Asf1, and immuno-inactivation experiments suggest that TLK1B increases UV-repair through the action of Asf1 on chromatin assembly/disassembly.
Conclusion
Our studies provide evidence for TLK1B-mediated phosphorylation of Asf1 triggering DNA repair. We suggest that this occurs via Asf1-mediated chromatin assembly at the sites of UV damage.
doi:10.1186/1471-2199-7-37
PMCID: PMC1626478  PMID: 17054786
4.  The radioresistance kinase TLK1B protects the cells by promoting repair of double strand breaks 
Background
The mammalian protein kinase TLK1 is a homologue of Tousled, a gene involved in flower development in Arabidopsis thaliana. The function of TLK1 is not well known, although knockout of the gene in Drosophila or expression of a dominant negative mutant in mouse cells causes loss of nuclear divisions and missegregation of chromosomes probably, due to alterations in chromatin remodeling capacity. Overexpression of TLK1B, a spliced variant of the TLK1 mRNA, in a model mouse cell line increases it's resistance to ionizing radiation (IR) or the radiomimetic drug doxorubicin, also likely due to changes in chromatin remodeling. TLK1B is translationally regulated by the availability of the translation factor eIF4E, and its synthesis is activated by IR. The reason for this mechanism of regulation is likely to provide a rapid means of promoting repair of DSBs. TLK1B specifically phosphorylates histone H3 and Asf1, likely resulting in changes in chromatin structure, particularly at double strand breaks (DSB) sites.
Results
In this work, we provide several lines of evidence that TLK1B protects the cells from IR by facilitating the repair of DSBs. First, the pattern of phosphorylation and dephosphorylation of H2AX and H3 indicated that cells overexpressing TLK1B return to pre-IR steady state much more rapidly than controls. Second, the repair of episomes damaged with DSBs was much more rapid in cells overexpressing TLK1B. This was also true for repair of genomic damage. Lastly, we demonstrate with an in vitro repair system that the addition of recombinant TLK1B promotes repair of a linearized plasmid incubated with nuclear extract. In addition, TLK1B in this in vitro system promotes the assembly of chromatin as shown by the formation of more highly supercoiled topomers of the plasmid.
Conclusion
In this work, we provide evidence that TLK1B promotes the repair of DSBs, likely as a consequence of a change in chromatin remodeling capacity that must precede the assembly of repair complexes at the sites of damage.
doi:10.1186/1471-2199-6-19
PMCID: PMC1242231  PMID: 16156902
5.  Translation of the radioresistance kinase TLK1B is induced by γ-irradiation through activation of mTOR and phosphorylation of 4E-BP1 
Background
The mammalian protein kinase TLK1 is a homologue of Tousled, a gene involved in flower development in Arabidopsis thaliana. The function of TLK1 is not well known, although knockout of the gene in Drosophila, or expression of a dominant negative mutant in mouse cells causes loss of nuclear divisions and chromosome missegregation probably due to alterations in chromatin remodeling capacity. Overexpression of TLK1B, a spliced variant of the TLK1 mRNA, in a model mouse cell line increases their resistance to ionizing radiation, also likely through changes in chromatin remodeling. The TLK1B mRNA is translationally repressed by its 5'UTR and is regulated by the availability of eIF4E. We now report that radiation or doxorubicin result in an increase in the translation of TLK1B, and we have uncovered the likely mechanism for this effect.
Results
Radiation causes a shift in the polysomal distribution of TLK1B mRNA, from the untranslated region and small polysomes to the large polysomes, concomitant with an increase in the expression of TLK1B protein. This change is preceded by an increase in phosphorylation of the eIF4E inhibitory protein 4E-BP1, which releases eIF4E when it is phosphorylated. The phosphorylation of 4E-BP1 depends on mTOR, since rapamycin blocked the increase in phosphorylation induced by radiation, and prevented the increase in TLK1B protein expression. The activation of mTOR was likely due to the rapid activation of Akt following radiation. The activation of Akt could be inhibited with wortmannin, an inhibitor of PI3 kinase, hence placing PI3 kinase upstream of Akt as a very early event following radiation. Wortmannin also inhibited translation of TLK1B mRNA following activation by IR. This was shown both by western blot and by measuring the initiation capacity of the mRNA, as indicated by its distribution on polysomes.
Conclusions
The translational upregulation of TLK1B elicited by DNA double strand breaks represents an interesting mechanism of translational regulation of a protein involved in radioprotection and highlights a novel mechanism of the stress response following radiation.
doi:10.1186/1471-2199-5-1
PMCID: PMC406498  PMID: 15070431

Results 1-5 (5)