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Chromatin dynamics and the preservation of genetic information

Abstract

The integrity of the genome is frequently challenged by double-strand breaks in the DNA. Defects in the cellular response to double-strand breaks are a major cause of cancer and other age-related pathologies; therefore, much effort has been directed at understanding the enzymatic mechanisms involved in recognizing, signalling and repairing double-strand breaks. Recent work indicates that chromatin — the fibres into which DNA is packaged with a proteinaceous structural polymer — has an important role in initiating, propagating and terminating this cellular response to DNA damage.

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Figure 1: Structure of the nucleosome core particle and modifications of histones.
Figure 2: Main DSB-repair and DSB-induced signalling pathways.
Figure 3: Early chromatin remodelling and modification events at S. cerevisiae DSBs.

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Acknowledgements

We apologize to colleagues whose research could not be cited because of space limitations. J.A.D. is a Jenner Fellow of the Lister Institute of Preventive Medicine. M.C.N. is supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health and is a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator. A.N. is supported by the Intramural Research Program of the National Institutes of Health (at the Center for Cancer Research, National Cancer Institute), and the A-T Children's Project.

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Downs, J., Nussenzweig, M. & Nussenzweig, A. Chromatin dynamics and the preservation of genetic information. Nature 447, 951–958 (2007). https://doi.org/10.1038/nature05980

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