Functions of the DNA dependent protein kinase

Cancer Surv. 1997;29:221-61.


The DNA dependent protein kinase (DNA-PK) is a trimeric nuclear complex consisting of a large protein kinase and the Ku heterodimer that regulates kinase activity by its association with DNA. Recent findings have shown structural similarities between DNA-PK and a family of lipid and putative protein kinases (PIK family). DNA-PK is one of the PIK members known to be a protein kinase with clearly identified effector subunits. A broad range of observations link DNA-PK to dual roles in double strand DNA break (DSB) repair and transcription. Unlike its most closely related PIKs, DNA-PK is not required for activating cell cycle regulated DNA damage signalling mechanisms. Instead, the phenotypes and biochemical properties of DNA-PK are most consistent with functions in DSB repair and joining steps in recombination mechanisms. DNA-PK is associated with RNA polymerase II and RNA polymerase I transcription complexes, where it most frequently has a negative regulatory role.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Apoptosis / genetics
  • Cell Cycle / physiology*
  • Cell Line
  • DNA Damage*
  • DNA Repair*
  • DNA-Activated Protein Kinase
  • DNA-Binding Proteins*
  • Drosophila
  • Humans
  • Mammals
  • Mutagenesis / physiology*
  • Nuclear Proteins
  • Phosphorylation
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases / metabolism
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases / physiology*
  • Telomere / genetics
  • Transcription, Genetic
  • Yeasts


  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Nuclear Proteins
  • DNA-Activated Protein Kinase
  • PRKDC protein, human
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases