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Hairpin opening and overhang processing by an Artemis/DNA-dependent protein kinase complex in nonhomologous end joining and V(D)J recombination.

Mutations in the Artemis protein in humans result in hypersensitivity to DNA double-strand break-inducing agents and absence of B and T lymphocytes (radiosensitive severe combined immune deficiency [RS-SCID]). Here, we report that Artemis forms a complex with the 469 kDa DNA-dependent protein kinase (DNA-PKcs) in the absence of DNA. The purified Artemis protein alone possesses single-strand-specific 5' to 3' exonuclease activity. Upon complex formation, DNA-PKcs phosphorylates Artemis, and Artemis acquires endonucleolytic activity on 5' and 3' overhangs, as well as hairpins. Finally, the Artemis:DNA-PKcs complex can open hairpins generated by the RAG complex. Thus, DNA-PKcs regulates Artemis by both phosphorylation and complex formation to permit enzymatic activities that are critical for the hairpin-opening step of V(D)J recombination and for the 5' and 3' overhang processing in nonhomologous DNA end joining.

Pubmed ID: 11955432


  • Ma Y
  • Pannicke U
  • Schwarz K
  • Lieber MR



Publication Data

March 22, 2002

Associated Grants


Mesh Terms

  • Adenosine Triphosphate
  • Animals
  • DNA, Single-Stranded
  • DNA-Activated Protein Kinase
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Endonucleases
  • Enzyme Activation
  • HMGB1 Protein
  • Homeodomain Proteins
  • Humans
  • Nuclear Proteins
  • Phosphorylation
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases
  • Recombination, Genetic
  • beta-Lactamases