Growth of persistent foci of DNA damage checkpoint factors is essential for amplification of G1 checkpoint signaling

Motohiro Yamauchi, Yasuyoshi Oka, Masashi Yamamoto, Koichi Niimura, Motoyuki Uchida, Seiji Kodama, Masami Watanabe, Ichiro Sekine, Shunichi Yamashita, Keiji Suzuki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Citations (Scopus)


Several DNA damage checkpoint factors form nuclear foci in response to ionizing radiation (IR). Although the number of the initial foci decreases concomitantly with DNA double-strand break repair, some fraction of foci persists. To date, the physiological role of the persistent foci has been poorly understood. Here we examined foci of Ser1981-phosphorylated ATM in normal human diploid cells exposed to 1 Gy of X-rays. While the initial foci size was approximately 0.6 μm, the one or two of persistent focus (foci) grew, whose diameter reached 1.6 μm or more in diameter at 24 h after IR. All of the grown persistent foci of phosphorylated ATM colocalized with the persistent foci of Ser139-phosphorylated histone H2AX, MDC1, 53BP1, and NBS1, which also grew similarly. When G0-synchronized normal human cells were released immediately after 1 Gy of X-rays and incubated for 24 h, the grown large phosphorylated ATM foci (≥1.6 μm) were rarely (av. 0.9%) observed in S phase cells, while smaller foci (<1.6 μm) were frequently (av. 45.9%) found. We observed significant phosphorylation of p53 at Ser15 in cells with a single grown phosphorylated ATM focus. Furthermore, persistent inhibition of foci growth of phosphorylated ATM by an ATM inhibitor, KU55933, completely abrogated p53 phosphorylation. Defective growth of the persistent IR-induced foci was observed in primary fibroblasts derived from ataxia-telangiectasia (AT) and Nijmegen breakage syndrome (NBS) patients, which were abnormal in IR-induced G1 checkpoint. These results indicate that the growth of the persistent foci of the DNA damage checkpoint factors plays a pivotal role in G1 arrest, which amplifies G1 checkpoint signals sufficiently for phosphorylating p53 in cells with a limited number of remaining foci.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)405-417
Number of pages13
JournalDNA Repair
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1 2008
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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