C1QBP Promotes Homologous Recombination by Stabilizing MRE11 and Controlling the Assembly and Activation of MRE11/RAD50/NBS1 Complex

Mol Cell. 2019 Sep 19;75(6):1299-1314.e6. doi: 10.1016/j.molcel.2019.06.023. Epub 2019 Jul 25.


MRE11 nuclease forms a trimeric complex (MRN) with RAD50 and NBS1 and plays a central role in preventing genomic instability. When DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs) occur, MRN is quickly recruited to the damage site and initiates DNA end resection; accordingly, MRE11 must be tightly regulated to avoid inefficient repair or nonspecific resection. Here, we show that MRE11 and RAD50 form a complex (MRC) with C1QBP, which stabilizes MRE11/RAD50, while inhibiting MRE11 nuclease activity by preventing its binding to DNA or chromatin. Upon DNA damage, ATM phosphorylates MRE11-S676/S678 to quickly dissociate the MRC complex. Either excess or insufficient C1QBP impedes the recruitment of MRE11 to DSBs and impairs the DNA damage response. C1QBP is highly expressed in breast cancer and positively correlates with MRE11 expression, and the inhibition of C1QBP enhances tumor regression with chemotherapy. By influencing MRE11 at multiple levels, C1QBP is, thus, an important player in the DNA damage response.

Keywords: C1QBP; DNA damage repair; DNA double-strand breaks; MRE11; MRN complex; homologous recombination.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Acid Anhydride Hydrolases / genetics
  • Acid Anhydride Hydrolases / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Carrier Proteins / genetics
  • Carrier Proteins / metabolism*
  • Cell Cycle Proteins / genetics
  • Cell Cycle Proteins / metabolism*
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / genetics
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / metabolism*
  • HEK293 Cells
  • HeLa Cells
  • Homologous Recombination*
  • Humans
  • MRE11 Homologue Protein / genetics
  • MRE11 Homologue Protein / metabolism*
  • Mitochondrial Proteins / genetics
  • Mitochondrial Proteins / metabolism*
  • Multiprotein Complexes / genetics
  • Multiprotein Complexes / metabolism*
  • Nuclear Proteins / genetics
  • Nuclear Proteins / metabolism*
  • Protein Stability
  • Sf9 Cells
  • Spodoptera


  • C1QBP protein, human
  • Carrier Proteins
  • Cell Cycle Proteins
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • MRE11 protein, human
  • Mitochondrial Proteins
  • Multiprotein Complexes
  • NBN protein, human
  • Nuclear Proteins
  • MRE11 Homologue Protein
  • Acid Anhydride Hydrolases
  • Rad50 protein, human