Drosophila ATM and ATR checkpoint kinases control partially redundant pathways for telomere maintenance.

TitleDrosophila ATM and ATR checkpoint kinases control partially redundant pathways for telomere maintenance.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2005
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Date Published2005

In higher eukaryotes, the ataxia telangiectasia mutated (ATM) and ATM and Rad3-related (ATR) checkpoint kinases play distinct, but partially overlapping, roles in DNA damage response. Yet their interrelated function has not been defined for telomere maintenance. We discover in Drosophila that the two proteins control partially redundant pathways for telomere protection: the loss of ATM leads to the fusion of some telomeres, whereas the loss of both ATM and ATR renders all telomeres susceptible to fusion. The ATM-controlled pathway includes the Mre11 and Nijmegen breakage syndrome complex but not the Chk2 kinase, whereas the ATR-regulated pathway includes its partner ATR-interacting protein but not the Chk1 kinase. This finding suggests that ATM and ATR regulate different molecular events at the telomeres compared with the sites of DNA damage. This compensatory relationship between ATM and ATR is remarkably similar to that observed in yeast despite the fact that the biochemistry of telomere elongation is completely different in the two model systems. We provide evidence suggesting that both the loading of telomere capping proteins and normal telomeric silencing requires ATM and ATR in Drosophila and propose that ATM and ATR protect telomere integrity by safeguarding chromatin architecture that favors the loading of telomere-elongating, capping, and silencing proteins.

Short TitleProc Natl Acad Sci U S A
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