Chromatin Modifications Involved in the DNA Damage Response to Double Strand Breaks
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In eukaryotes, genomic DNA is tightly compacted into a protein-DNA complex known as chromatin. This dense structure presents a barrier to DNA-dependent processes including transcription, replication and DNA repair. The repressive structure of chromatin is overcome by ATP-dependent chromatin remodelling complexes and chromatin-modifying enzymes. There is now ample evidence that DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs) elicit various histone modifications (such as acetylation, deacetylation, and phosphorylation) that function combinatorially to control the dynamic structure of the chromatin microenvironment. The role of these mechanisms during transcription and replication has been well studied, while the research into their impact on regulation of DNA damage response is rapidly gaining momentum. How chromatin structure is remodeled in response to DNA damage and how such alterations influence DSB repair are currently significant questions. This review will summarise the major chromatin modifications and chromatin remodelling complexes implicated in the DNA damage response to DSBs.
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