Mechanism of DNA double-strand break repair by non-homologous end joining

DNA Repair (Amst). 2005 Jun 8;4(6):639-48. doi: 10.1016/j.dnarep.2004.12.005. Epub 2005 Jan 23.


The repair of DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs) is critical for maintaining genome stability. Although the non-homologous end joining (NHEJ) pathway frequently results in minor changes in DNA sequence at the break site and occasionally the joining of previously unlinked DNA molecules, it is a major contributor to cell survival following exposure of mammalian cells to agents that cause DSBs. This repair mechanism is conserved in lower eukaryotes and in some prokaryotes although the majority of DSBs are repaired by recombinational repair pathways in these organisms. Here we will describe the biochemical properties of NHEJ factors from bacteria, Saccharomyces cerevisiae and mammals, and how physical and functional interactions among these factors co-ordinate the repair of DSBs.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • DNA Damage
  • DNA Repair*
  • DNA, Bacterial
  • DNA, Fungal
  • Eukaryotic Cells / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Models, Genetic
  • Recombination, Genetic*


  • DNA, Bacterial
  • DNA, Fungal