The biochemistry and biological significance of nonhomologous DNA end joining: an essential repair process in multicellular eukaryotes


  • Michael R. Lieber

    1. Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center, Room 5428, Departments of Pathology, Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, and Molecular Microbiology & Immunology, 1441 Eastlake Ave., MS73, Los Angeles, CA 90033, USA
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Recent progress over the past year has provided new insights into the proteins involved in nonhomologous end joining. The assembly of Ku and DNA-dependent protein kinase at DNA ends is now understood in greater detail. Murine genetic knockouts for DNA ligase IV and XRCC4 are embryonic lethal, indicating that nonhomologous end joining is essential for viability. Interestingly, neurones, in addition to lymphocytes, are particularly vulnerable to an absence of NHEJ.