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DNA damage-induced cytotoxicity is mediated by the cooperative interaction of phospho-NF-κB p50 and a single nucleotide in the κB-site.

  • Author(s): Crawley, Clayton D;
  • Raleigh, David R;
  • Kang, Shijun;
  • Voce, David J;
  • Schmitt, Adam M;
  • Weichselbaum, Ralph R;
  • Yamini, Bakhtiar
  • et al.

Phosphorylation of the NF-κB subunit, p50, is necessary for cytotoxicity in response to DNA methylation damage. Here, we demonstrate that serine 329 phosphorylation regulates the interaction of p50 with specific NF-κB binding elements based on the identity of a single κB-site nucleotide. Specifically, S329 phosphorylation reduces the affinity of p50 for κB-sites that have a cytosine (C) at the -1 position without affecting binding to sequences with a -1 adenine. The differential interaction between phospho-p50 and the -1 base regulates the downstream transcriptional response and underlies the inhibition of anti-apoptotic gene expression following DNA damage. In genes with multiple κB-sites, the presence of a single -1C κB-site enables inhibition of NF-κB-dependent activity. The data suggest that interaction between phospho-p50 and the -1 κB nucleotide facilitates cytotoxicity in response to DNA damage. Moreover, although conservation of the entire κB-site sequence is not seen across species, the identity of the -1 nt in critical anti-apoptotic genes is conserved such that the overall response to DNA damage is maintained.

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