Double-strand breaks: Signaling pathways and repair mechanisms

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Double-strand breaks arise frequently in the course of endogenous - normal and pathological - cellular DNA metabolism or can result from exogenous agents such as ionizing radiation. It is generally accepted that these lesions represent one of the most severe types of DNA damage with respect to preservation of genomic integrity. Therefore, cells have evolved complex mechanisms that include cell-cycle arrest, activation of various genes, including those associated with DNA repair, and in certain cases induction of the apoptotic pathway to respond to double-strand breaks. In this review we discuss recent progress in our understanding of cellular responses to DNA double-strand breaks. In addition to an analysis of the current paradigms of detection, signaling and repair, insights into the significance of chromatin remodeling in the double-strand break-response pathways are provided.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2137-2147
Number of pages11
JournalCellular and Molecular Life Sciences
Issue number17
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2004


  • Chromatin remodeling
  • DNA double-strand breaks
  • Homologous recombination
  • Non-homologous end-joining
  • Signal transduction
  • Trancriptional responses

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