Common and unique genetic interactions of the poly(ADP-ribose) polymerases PARP1 and PARP2 with DNA double-strand break repair pathways

In mammalian cells, chromatin poly(ADP-ribos)ylation (PARylation) at sites of DNA Double-Strand Breaks (DSBs) is mediated by two highly related enzymes, PARP1 and PARP2. However, enzyme-specific genetic interactions with other DSB repair factors remain largely undefined. In this context, it was previously shown that mice lacking PARP1 and H2AX, a histone variant that promotes DSB repair throughout the cell cycle, or the core nonhomologous end-joining (NHEJ) factor Ku80 are not viable, while mice lacking PARP1 and the noncore NHEJ factor DNA-PKcs are severely growth retarded and markedly lymphoma-prone. Here, we have examined the requirement for PARP2 in these backgrounds. We find that, like PARP1, PARP2 is essential for viability in mice lacking H2AX. Moreover, treatment of H2AX-deficient primary fibroblasts or B lymphocytes with PARP inhibitors leads to activation of the G2/M checkpoint and accumulation of chromatid-type breaks in a lineage- and gene-dose dependent manner. In marked contrast to PARP1, loss of PARP2 does not result in additional phenotypes in growth, development or tumorigenesis in mice lacking either Ku80 or DNA-PKcs. Altogether these findings highlight specific nonoverlapping functions of PARP1 and PARP2 at H2AX-deficient chromatin during replicative phases of the cell cycle and uncover a unique requirement for PARP1 in NHEJ-deficient cells.

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