Poly(ADP-ribosyl)ation (PARylation) is a posttranslational protein modification (PTM) catalyzed by members of the poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP) enzyme family. PARPs use NAD(+) as substrate and upon cleaving off nicotinamide they transfer the ADP-ribosyl moiety covalently to suitable acceptor proteins and elongate the chain by adding further ADP-ribose units to create a branched polymer, termed poly(ADP-ribose) (PAR), which is rapidly degraded by poly(ADP-ribose) glycohydrolase (PARG) and ADP-ribosylhydrolase 3 (ARH3). In recent years several key discoveries changed the way we look at the biological roles and mode of operation of PARylation. These paradigm shifts include but are not limited to (1) a single PARP enzyme expanding to a PARP family; (2) DNA-break dependent activation extended to several other DNA dependent and independent PARP-activation mechanisms; (3) one molecular mechanism (covalent PARylation of target proteins) underlying the biological effect of PARPs is now complemented by several other mechanisms such as protein-protein interactions, PAR signaling, modulation of NAD(+) pools and (4) one principal biological role in DNA damage sensing expanded to numerous, diverse biological functions identifying PARP-1 as a real moonlighting protein. Here we review the most important paradigm shifts in PARylation research and also highlight some of the many controversial issues (or paradoxes) of the field such as (1) the mostly synergistic and not antagonistic biological effects of PARP-1 and PARG; (2) mitochondrial PARylation and PAR decomposition, (3) the cross-talk between PARylation and signaling pathways (protein kinases, phosphatases, calcium) and the (4) divergent roles of PARP/PARylation in longevity and in age-related diseases.
Keywords: Apoptosis; Calcium; Cell death; Chromatin structure; DNA repair; Kinase; Mitochondria; Necrosis; Poly(ADP-ribose) glycohydrolase; Poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase; Signaling; Transcription.
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