Relationship among DNA double-strand break (DSB), DSB repair, and transcription prevents genome instability and cancer

Ayako Ui, Natsuko Chiba, Akira Yasui

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Citations (Scopus)


DNA double-strand break (DSB) is a serious type of DNA damage and is known to trigger multiple responses within cells. In these responses, novel relationships among DSB, DSB repair, and transcription machineries are created. First, transcription is repressed if DSB occurs near or at the transcription site, termed DSB-induced transcriptional repression, which contributes to DSB repair with the aid of DNA damage-signaling pathways, ATM- or DNA-PKcs-signaling pathways. DSB-induced transcriptional repression is also regulated by transcriptional factors TLP1, NELF, and ENL, as well as chromatin remodeling and organizing factors ZMYND8, CDYL1, PBAF, and cohesin. Second, transcription and RNA promote DSB repair for genome integrity. Transcription factors such as LEDGF, SETD2, and transcriptionally active histone modification, H3K36, facilitate homologous recombination to overcome DSB. At transcriptional active sites, DNA:RNA hybrids, termed R-loops, which are formed by DSB, are processed by RAD52 and XPG leading to an activation of the homologous recombination pathway. Even in a transcriptionally inactive non-genic sites, noncoding RNAs that are produced by RNA polymerase II, DICER, and DROSHA, help to recruit DSB repair proteins at the DSB sites. Third, transcriptional activation itself, however, can induce DSB. Transcriptional activation often generates specific DNA structures such as R-loops and topoisomerase-induced DSBs, which cause genotoxic stress and may lead to genome instability and consequently to cancer. Thus, transcription and DSB repair machineries interact and cooperate to prevent genome instability and cancer.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1443-1451
Number of pages9
JournalCancer Science
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2020 May 1


  • cancer
  • DSB repair
  • genome instability
  • homologous recombination
  • transcription


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