Nbs1 Flexibly Tethers Ctp1 and Mre11- Rad50 in DNA Double-Strand Break Repair


A paper has been published in The October 2 issue of Cell by Scott Williams et al. that sheds light on a previously missing piece of the double-strand break repair complex MRN (aka Mre11-Rad50-Nbs1). The paper entitled “Nbs1 Flexibly Tethers Ctp1 and Mre11-Rad50 to Coordinate DNA Double-Strand Break Processing and Repair” presents a compelling model of the role of Nbs1 (i.e “N” of the MRN) in coordinating double-strand break processing and repair. The paper was made possible in part by crystal structures and SAXS data of Nbs1 that were collected at the SIBYLS beamline.



The Nijmegen breakage syndrome 1 (Nbs1) subunit of the Mre11-Rad50-Nbs1 (MRN) complex protects genome integrity by coordinating double-strand break (DSB) repair and checkpoint signaling through undefined interactions with ATM, MDC1, and Sae2/Ctp1/CtIP. Here, fission yeast and human Nbs1 structures defined by X-ray crystallography and small angle X-ray scattering (SAXS) reveal Nbs1 cardinal features: fused, extended, FHA-BRCT1-BRCT2 domains flexibly linked to C-terminal Mre11- and ATM-binding motifs. Genetic, biochemical, and structural analyses of an Nbs1-Ctp1 complex show Nbs1 recruits phosphorylated Ctp1 to DSBs via binding of the Nbs1 FHA domain to a Ctp1 pThr-Asp motif. Nbs1 structures further identify an extensive FHA-BRCT interface, a divalent MDC1-binding scaffold, an extended conformational switch, and the molecular consequences associated with cancer predisposing Nijmegen breakage syndrome mutations. Tethering of Ctp1 to a flexible Nbs1 arm suggests a mechanism for restricting DNA end processing and homologous recombination activities of Sae2/Ctp1/CtIP to the immediate vicinity of DSBs.

Williams RS, Dodson GE, Limbo O, Yamada Y, Williams JS, Guenther G, Classen S, Glover MJN, Iwasaki H, Russell P, Tainer JA. “Nbs1 Flexibly Tethers Ctp1 and Mre11-Rad50 to Coordinate DNA Double-Strand Break Processing and Repair” Cell, Volume 139, Issue 1, 87-99, 2 October 2009
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