DNA double-strand breaks and ATM activation by transcription-blocking DNA lesions

Cell Cycle. 2010 Jan 15;9(2):274-8. doi: 10.4161/cc.9.2.10506. Epub 2010 Jan 2.


A taxia telangiectasia mutated (ATM), the deficiency of which causes a severe neurodegenerative disease, is a crucial mediator for the DNA double-strand break (DSB) response. We recently showed that transcription-blocking topoisomerase I cleavage complexes (TOP1cc) produce DSBs related to R-loop formation and activate ATM in post-mitotic neurons and lymphocytes. Here we discuss how TOP1cc can produce transcription arrest with R-loop formation and generate DSBs that activate ATM, as well as data suggesting that those transcription-dependent DSBs tend to form at the IgH locus and at specific genomic sites. We also address the potential roles of ATM in response to transcription-blocking TOP1cc.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural

MeSH terms

  • Ataxia Telangiectasia Mutated Proteins
  • Cell Cycle Proteins / genetics
  • Cell Cycle Proteins / metabolism*
  • Cell Cycle Proteins / physiology
  • DNA Breaks, Double-Stranded*
  • DNA Topoisomerases, Type I / genetics
  • DNA Topoisomerases, Type I / metabolism
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / genetics
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / metabolism*
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / physiology
  • Histones / genetics
  • Histones / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin Heavy Chains / genetics
  • Immunoglobulin Heavy Chains / metabolism
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases / genetics
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases / metabolism*
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases / physiology
  • Transcription, Genetic
  • Tumor Suppressor Proteins / genetics
  • Tumor Suppressor Proteins / metabolism*
  • Tumor Suppressor Proteins / physiology


  • Cell Cycle Proteins
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • H2AX protein, human
  • Histones
  • Immunoglobulin Heavy Chains
  • Tumor Suppressor Proteins
  • ATM protein, human
  • Ataxia Telangiectasia Mutated Proteins
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases
  • DNA Topoisomerases, Type I