53BP1 deficiency combined with telomeredysfunction activates ATR-dependent DNA damage response
Paula Martínez, Juana M. Flores, and Maria A. Blasco
Journal of Cell Biology
TRF1 protects mammalian telomeres from fusion and fragility. Depletion of TRF1 leads to telomere fusions as well as accumulation of -H2AX foci and activation of both the ataxia telangiectasia mutated (ATM)– and the ataxia telangiectasia and Rad3 related (ATR)–mediated deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) damage response (DDR) pathways. 53BP1, which is also present at dysfunctional telomeres, is a target of ATM that accumulates at DNA double-strand breaks and favors nonhomologous end-joining (NHEJ) repair over ATM-dependent resection and homology-directed repair (homologous recombination [HR]). To address the role of 53BP1 at dysfunctional telomeres, we generated mice lacking TRF1 and 53BP1. 53BP1 deficiency significantly rescued telomere fusions in mouse embryonic fibroblasts (MEFs) lacking TRF1, but they showed evidence of a switch from the NHEJ- to HR-mediated repair of uncapped telomeres. Concomitantly, double-mutant MEFs showed evidence of hyperactivation of the ATRdependent DDR. In intact mice, combined 53BP1/TRF1 deficiency in stratified epithelia resulted in earlier onset of DNA damage and increased CHK1 phosphorylation during embryonic development, leading to aggravation of skin phenotypes.