The cellular DNA damage response (DDR) involves changes in the functional and structural properties of a number of nuclear proteins, resulting in a coordinated control of gene expression and DNA repair. This response includes functional interactions of the DNA repair, transcription, and RNA processing machineries. Following DNA damage, cellular levels of polyadenylated transcripts are transiently decreased and normal recovery depends on transcription-coupled repair (TCR). In addition, DNA damage has gene-specific effects regulating the mRNA levels of factors involved in the DDR itself at different times after the damage. The 3′-end processing machinery, which is important in the regulation of mRNA stability, is involved in these general and gene-specific responses to DNA damage. The role of 3′-end processing in DDR supports the idea that the steady-state levels of different mRNAs change upon DNA-damaging conditions as a result of regulation of not only their biosynthesis but also their turnover. Here, we review the mechanistic connections between 3′-end processing and DDR, and discuss the implications of deregulation of this important step of mRNA maturation in the cellular recovery after DNA-damaging treatment. The relevance of these functional connections is illustrated by the increasing number of reports on this relatively unexplored field. Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
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