Accumulation of Ku80 proteins at DNA double-strand breaks in living cells

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Ku plays a key role in multiple nuclear processes, e.g., DNA double-strand break (DSB) repair. The regulation mechanism of the localizations of Ku70 and Ku80 plays a key role in regulating the multiple functions of Ku. Although numerous biochemical studies in vitro have elucidated the DNA binding mechanism of Ku, no accumulation mechanisms of Ku70 and Ku80 at DSBs have been clarified in detail in vivo. In this study, we examined the accumulation mechanism of Ku80 at DSBs in living cells. EGFP–Ku80 accumulation at DSBs began immediately after irradiation. On the other hand, our data show that Ku70 alone, which has DNA binding activity independent of Ku80, cannot accumulate at the DSBs, whereas Ku70 bound to Ku80 can. The deletion of the C-terminal DNA-PKcs-binding domain and the mutation at the SUMOylation site of Ku80 had no effect on Ku80 accumulation. Unexpectedly, N-terminal deletion mutants of Ku80 fully lost their accumulation activity, although the mutants retained their Ku70 binding activity. Altogether, these data demonstrate that Ku80 is essential for Ku70 accumulation at DSBs. Furthermore, three domains of Ku80, i.e., the N-terminal α/β, the DNA-binding, and Ku70-binding domains, seem to necessary for the accumulation at or recognition of DSBs in the early stage after irradiation.

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