Interplays between ATM/Tel1 and ATR/Mec1 in sensing and signaling DNA double-strand breaks

DNA Repair (Amst). 2013 Oct;12(10):791-9. doi: 10.1016/j.dnarep.2013.07.009. Epub 2013 Aug 13.


DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs) are highly hazardous for genome integrity because they have the potential to cause mutations, chromosomal rearrangements and genomic instability. The cellular response to DSBs is orchestrated by signal transduction pathways, known as DNA damage checkpoints, which are conserved from yeasts to humans. These pathways can sense DNA damage and transduce this information to specific cellular targets, which in turn regulate cell cycle transitions and DNA repair. The mammalian protein kinases ATM and ATR, as well as their budding yeast corresponding orthologs Tel1 and Mec1, act as master regulators of the checkpoint response to DSBs. Here, we review the early steps of DSB processing and the role of DNA-end structures in activating ATM/Tel1 and ATR/Mec1 in an orderly and reciprocal manner.

Keywords: ATM/Tel1; ATR/Mec1; Checkpoint; DNA double-strand breaks; MRN/MRX; Resection.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Ataxia Telangiectasia Mutated Proteins / genetics
  • Ataxia Telangiectasia Mutated Proteins / metabolism*
  • Cell Cycle Checkpoints
  • Cell Cycle Proteins / genetics
  • Cell Cycle Proteins / metabolism
  • Checkpoint Kinase 2 / genetics
  • Checkpoint Kinase 2 / metabolism
  • DNA Breaks, Double-Stranded*
  • DNA Repair
  • DNA Repair Enzymes / genetics
  • DNA Repair Enzymes / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Intracellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins / genetics
  • Intracellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins / metabolism*
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases / genetics
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases / metabolism*
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / cytology
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / genetics
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / metabolism*
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae Proteins / genetics
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae Proteins / metabolism*
  • Schizosaccharomyces pombe Proteins / genetics
  • Schizosaccharomyces pombe Proteins / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction


  • Cell Cycle Proteins
  • Intracellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae Proteins
  • Schizosaccharomyces pombe Proteins
  • Checkpoint Kinase 2
  • ATM protein, human
  • ATR protein, human
  • Ataxia Telangiectasia Mutated Proteins
  • MEC1 protein, S cerevisiae
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases
  • TEL1 protein, S cerevisiae
  • rad3 protein, S pombe
  • tel1 protein, S pombe
  • DNA Repair Enzymes