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Biochemical and genetic defects in the DNA-dependent protein kinase in murine scid lymphocytes.

Danska J.S., Holland D.P., Mariathasan S., Williams K.M., Guidos C.J.

The scid gene product has been identified as the 460-kDa catalytic subunit of the DNA-dependent protein kinase (DNA-PKcs p460), a member of the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase family. DNA-PK activity is undetectable in scid cells, but the molecular basis for this defect has not been identified. Here we report that expression of p460 in scid lymphocyte precursors is detectable but is reduced at least 10-fold relative to that in wild-type lymphocytes. In addition, we show that the scid mutation disturbs p460 nuclear association, presumably affecting its role in DNA repair pathways. To examine the molecular basis for our observations, we used a degenerate PCR strategy to clone the C-terminal p460 kinase domain from wild-type and scid thymocytes. Northern (RNA) analysis with these probes revealed normal steady-state p460 mRNA levels in scid cells, suggesting that the reduced abundance of p460 protein is due to a posttranscriptional defect. Sequence comparisons identified a single-base-pair alteration in the scid C-terminal p460 kinase domain, resulting in a premature stop codon. This mutation is predicted to truncate p460 by approximately 8 kDa, but it preserves the conserved motifs required for kinase activity in members of the phosphoinositidyl 3-kinase family. Despite a computed molecular weight alteration of less than 2%, we were able to visualize this difference by Western blot (immunoblot) analysis of wild-type and scid p460. These data demonstrate that the scid DNA-PKes mutation is not a null allele and suggest a molecular rationale for the well-described leakiness of the scid phenotype.

Mol. Cell. Biol. 16:5507-5517(1996) [PubMed] [Europe PMC]

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