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Title: Regulation of the base excision repair pathway
Author: Fletcher, Sally C.
ISNI:       0000 0004 7430 5878
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2017
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Maintenance of genomic stability is paramount for survival of an organism; failure to repair DNA damage ultimately leads to the accumulation of genetically unstable cells and the onset of different human diseases including cancer. DNA single strand breaks and base oxidation/alkylation are among the most frequent types of DNA damage occurring spontaneously in cells. Base excision repair (BER), which copes with the majority of these lesions, is therefore a fundamental DNA repair system. Accordingly, it is important to understand how BER is regulated, and particularly, how and if BER is affected by the cellular load of DNA damage. Although functions of key BER proteins are well-defined, regulation of their expression is poorly understood. During BER, the protein XRCC1 is particularly important. It functions as a scaffold, stabilising repair complexes at sites of DNA damage thereby promoting efficient DNA repair. As a central coordinator in BER, it is therefore of great interest to understand how expression of XRCC1 is controlled. In this thesis I demonstrate that modulation of XRCC1 expression is mediated by transcription factor Sp1. Importantly, Sp1 is also affected during the DNA damage response, suggesting an indirect mechanism promoting BER modulation in response to the cellular DNA damage load. In fact, I show that, in response to persistent DNA strand breaks, the key DNA damage signalling factor ATM phosphorylates Sp1. This initiates Sp1 degradation, negatively affecting BER. Therefore, this thesis identifies a mechanism involving signalling from ATM that regulates BER in response to persistent DNA damage, which I link to susceptibility to apoptosis and cell elimination. I hypothesise that regulation of DNA repair in response to persistent DNA damage constitutes a mechanism to promote the elimination of potentially pre-cancerous cells that accumulate unrepairable levels of DNA lesions.
Supervisor: Dianov, Grigory ; Poletto, Mattia Sponsor: Medical Research Council
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Base excision repair ; XRCC1 ; Sp1