Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Non-homologous end-joining (NHEJ), which can promote genomic instability when dysfunctional, is a major DNA double-strand break (DSB) repair pathway. Although ubiquitylation of the core NHEJ factor, Ku (Ku70-Ku80), which senses broken DNA ends, is important for its removal from sites of damage upon completion of NHEJ, the mechanism regulating Ku ubiquitylation remains elusive. We provide evidence showing that the ubiquitin carboxyl-terminal hydrolase L3 (UCHL3) interacts with and directly deubiquitylates one of the Ku heterodimer subunits, Ku80. Additionally, depleting UCHL3 resulted in reduced Ku80 foci formation, Ku80 binding to chromatin after DSB induction, moderately sensitized cells to ionizing radiation and decreased NHEJ efficiencies. Mechanistically, we show that DNA damage induces UCHL3 phosphorylation, which is dependent on ATM, downstream NHEJ factors and UCHL3 catalytic activity. Furthermore, this phosphorylation destabilizes UCHL3, despite having no effect on its catalytic activity. Collectively, these data suggest that UCHL3 facilitates cellular viability after DSB induction by antagonizing Ku80 ubiquitylation to enhance Ku80 retention at sites of damage.

Original publication




Journal article


Sci Rep

Publication Date