More than just a focus: The chromatin response to DNA damage and its role in genome integrity maintenance

Nat Cell Biol. 2011 Oct 3;13(10):1161-9. doi: 10.1038/ncb2344.


Following the discovery in 1998 of γ-H2AX, the first histone modification induced by DNA damage, interest in the changes to chromatin induced by DNA damage has exploded, and a vast amount of information has been generated. However, there has been a discrepancy between our rapidly advancing knowledge of how chromatin responds to DNA damage and the understanding of why cells mobilize large segments of chromatin to protect the genome against destabilizing effects posed by tiny DNA lesions. Recent research has provided insights into these issues and suggests that chromatin responses induced by DNA damage are not simply the accumulation of 'nuclear foci' but are mechanisms required to guard genome integrity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Cycle / genetics*
  • Chromatin Assembly and Disassembly / genetics*
  • DNA Damage*
  • DNA Repair
  • Genomic Instability*
  • Histones / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Protein Processing, Post-Translational


  • Histones