Ku70 N-terminal lysines acetylation/deacetylation is required for radiation-induced DNA-double strand breaks repair

B Kysela, A Al Emam, D Arbon, M Jeeves

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Ku70 protein in hetero-trimeric complex with Ku80 and DNA-dependent protein kinase catalytic subunit (DNA-PKcs) represents a critical component of the nonhomologous-end-joining (NHEJ), the major machinery of DSBs repair in mammalian cells. It has been previously shown that modulation of Ku70 acetylation by histone deacetylases (HDAC) inhibitors induced sensitization of cancer cells to chemotherapeutic agents. However, the effects of such modulation on the repair of Ionizing Radiation (IR)-induced DSBs and the importance of dynamic equilibrium of acetylation/deacetylation have not been studied in details. To address these questions aceto-blocking and aceto-mimicking mutants were designed by replacing Ku70 lysine residues K317, K331 and K338 with arginine and glutamine respectively via site-directed mutagenesis. Transformed human embryonic lung fibroblasts MRC5VA were transfected to create stables cells lines over-expressing Ku70 mutant proteins. Clonogenic survival and γ-H2AX foci assays were performed to study the impact of these mutants on DNA repair proficiency of MRC5VA cells in response to IR. We report here that both Ku70 aceto-blocking and aceto-mimicking mutants rendered MRC5VA cells more susceptible to IR in terms of clonogenic survival and γH2AX foci. Moreover, modelling the possible interactions and structural impact of these aceto-blocking and aceto-mimicking mutants with DNA substrate showed that mimicking acetylation/deacetylation of K331 and K338 could directly compromise KU-DNA interactions, whereas K317 may have a more subtle role via forming a salt bridge with E330 thus optimising the positioning of the helix containing both K331 and K338 residues on the DNA. Our data indicates that dynamic equilibrium of acetylation/deacetylation of Ku70 lysine residues K317, K331 and K338 is critical for optimal repair of IR-induced DSBs, and may offer a novel therapeutic approach for cancer treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)708-719
Number of pages12
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 19 Sept 2018


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