Requirement for the kinase activity of human DNA-dependent protein kinase catalytic subunit in DNA strand break rejoining

Akihiro Kurimasa, Satoshi Kumano, Nikolai V. Boubnov, Michael D. Story, Chang Shung Tung, Scott R. Peterson, David J. Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

258 Scopus citations


The catalytic subunit of DNA-dependent protein kinase (DNA-PKcs) is an enormous, 470-kDa protein serine/threonine kinase that has homology with members of the phosphatidylinositol (PI) 3-kinase superfamily. This protein contributes to the repair of DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs) by assembling broken ends of DNA molecules in combination with the DNA-binding factors Ku70 and Ku80. It may also serve as a molecular scaffold for recruiting DNA repair factors to DNA strand breaks. This study attempts to better define the role of protein kinase activity in the repair of DNA DSBs. We constructed a contiguous 14-kb human DNA-PKcs cDNA and demonstrated that it can complement the DNA DSB repair defects of two mutant cell lines known to be deficient in DNA-PKcs (M059J and V3). We then created deletion and site-directed mutations within the conserved PI 3-kinase domain of the DNA-PKcs gene to test the importance of protein kinase activity for DSB rejoining. These DNA-PKcs mutant constructs are able to express the protein but fail to complement the DNA DSB or V(D)J recombination defects of DNA-PKcs mutant cells. These results indicate that the protein kinase activity of DNA-PKcs is essential for the rejoining of DNA DSBs in mammalian cells. We have also determined a model structure for the DNA-PKcs kinase domain based on comparisons to the crystallographic structure of a cyclic AMP-dependent protein kinase. This structure gives some insight into which amino acid residues are crucial for the kinase activity in DNA-PKcs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3877-3884
Number of pages8
JournalMolecular and cellular biology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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