Role of non-homologous end joining (NHEJ) in maintaining genomic integrity

DNA Repair (Amst). 2006 Sep 8;5(9-10):1042-8. doi: 10.1016/j.dnarep.2006.05.026. Epub 2006 Jul 5.


Of the various types of DNA damage that can occur within the mammalian cell, the DNA double strand break (DSB) is perhaps the most dangerous. DSBs are typically induced by intrinsic sources such as the by products of cellular metabolism or by extrinsic sources such as X-rays or gamma-rays and chemotherapeutic drugs. It is becoming increasing clear that an inability to respond properly to DSBs will lead to genomic instability and promote carcinogenesis. The mammalian cell, therefore, has in place several mechanisms that can respond rapidly to DSBs. In this review, we focus on the role of one such mechanism, the non-homologous end joining (NHEJ) pathway of DSB repair, in maintaining genome integrity and preventing carcinogenesis.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • BRCA1 Protein / genetics
  • Chromatin / genetics
  • DNA Ligases / genetics
  • DNA Repair*
  • DNA-Activated Protein Kinase
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / genetics
  • Endonucleases
  • Genomic Instability*
  • Humans
  • Mutation
  • Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Nuclear Proteins / genetics
  • Recombination, Genetic


  • BRCA1 Protein
  • Chromatin
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Nuclear Proteins
  • XRCC4 protein, mouse
  • DNA-Activated Protein Kinase
  • Endonucleases
  • Dclre1c protein, mouse
  • DNA Ligases