• DNA damage;
  • programmed cell death;
  • primordial germ cells;
  • ATM;
  • p53

Abstract: The detection of DNA damage is necessary to protect against proliferation of potentially harmful cells and often results in cell cycle arrest and programmed cell death. Key components of DNA damage signaling networks include ATM, CHK2, p53, and Bax. Mutations in these damage signaling systems are linked to tumorigenesis and developmental abnormalities. Expression of some of these genes in primordial germ cells (PGCs) argues that PGCs may utilize DNA damage-induced signaling mechanisms to select against germ cells that are genetically defective, thus maintaining the integrity of the germline. This paper summarizes the roles of these DNA damage signaling molecules and addresses their potential involvement in germ cell development.