Cell reports

Competition between NBS1 and ATMIN controls ATM signaling pathway choice.

PMID 23219553


Ataxia telangiectasia mutated (ATM) protein kinase activation by DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs) requires the Mre11-Rad50-NBS1 (MRN) complex, whereas ATM interactor (ATMIN) protein is required for ATM signaling induced by changes in chromatin structure. We show here that NBS1 and ATMIN proteins compete for ATM binding and that this mechanism controls ATM function. DSB-induced ATM substrate phosphorylation was increased in atmin mutant cells. Conversely, NBS1 deficiency resulted in increased ATMIN-dependent ATM signaling. Thus, the absence of one cofactor increased flux through the alternative pathway. Notably, ATMIN deficiency rescued the cellular lethality of NBS1-deficient cells, and NBS1/ATMIN double deficiency resulted in complete abrogation of ATM signaling and profound radiosensitivity. Hence, ATMIN and NBS1 mediate all ATM signaling by DSBs, and increased ATMIN-dependent ATM signaling explains the different phenotypes of nbs1- and atm-mutant cells. Thus, the antagonism and redundancy of ATMIN and NBS1 constitute a crucial regulatory mechanism for ATM signaling and function.