ADP-ribosylation of histone variant H2AX promotes base excision repair

Qian Chen, Chunjing Bian, Xin Wang, Xiuhua Liu, Muzaffer Ahmad Kassab, Yonghao Yu, Xiaochun Yu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Optimal DNA damage response is associated with ADP-ribosylation of histones. However, the underlying molecular mechanism of DNA damage-induced histone ADP-ribosylation remains elusive. Herein, using unbiased mass spectrometry, we identify that glutamate residue 141 (E141) of variant histone H2AX is ADP-ribosylated following oxidative DNA damage. In-depth studies performed with wild-type H2AX and the ADP-ribosylation-deficient E141A mutant suggest that H2AX ADP-ribosylation plays a critical role in base excision repair (BER). Mechanistically, ADP-ribosylation on E141 mediates the recruitment of Neil3 glycosylase to the sites of DNA damage for BER. Moreover, loss of this ADP-ribosylation enhances serine-139 phosphorylation of H2AX (γH2AX) upon oxidative DNA damage and erroneously causes the accumulation of DNA double-strand break (DSB) response factors. Taken together, these results reveal that H2AX ADP-ribosylation not only facilitates BER repair, but also suppresses the γH2AX-mediated DSB response.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere104542
JournalEMBO Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 15 2021


  • ADP-ribosylation
  • H2AX
  • PARP1
  • base excision repair

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Molecular Biology
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)


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