DNA and Chromosomes
- Nonhomologous DNA end-joining (NHEJ) is the predominant double-strand break (DSB) repair pathway throughout the cell cycle and accounts for nearly all DSB repair outside of the S and G2 phases. NHEJ relies on Ku to thread onto DNA termini and thereby improve the affinity of the NHEJ enzymatic components consisting of polymerases (Pol μ and Pol λ), a nuclease (the Artemis·DNA-PKcs complex), and a ligase (XLF·XRCC4·Lig4 complex). Each of the enzymatic components is distinctive for its versatility in acting on diverse incompatible DNA end configurations coupled with a flexibility in loading order, resulting in many possible junctional outcomes from one DSB.
- In humans, nonhomologous DNA end-joining (NHEJ) is the major pathway by which DNA double-strand breaks are repaired. Recognition of each broken DNA end by the DNA repair protein Ku is the first step in NHEJ, followed by the iterative binding of nucleases, DNA polymerases, and the XRCC4-DNA ligase IV (X4-LIV) complex in an order influenced by the configuration of the two DNA ends at the break site. The endonuclease Artemis improves joining efficiency by functioning in a complex with DNA-dependent protein kinase, catalytic subunit (DNA-PKcs) that carries out endonucleolytic cleavage of 5′ and 3′ overhangs.