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Genomic integrity is continuously threatened by thousands of endogenous and exogenous damaging factors. To preserve genome stability, cells developed comprehensive DNA damage response (DDR) pathways that mediate the recognition of damaged DNA lesions, the activation of signaling cascades, and the execution of DNA repair. Transcription has been understood to pose a threat to genome stability in the presence of DNA breaks. Interestingly, accumulating evidence in recent years shows that the transient transcriptional activation at DNA double-strand break (DSB) sites is required for efficient repair, while the rest of the genome exhibits temporary transcription silencing. This genomic shut down is a result of multiple signaling cascades involved in the maintenance of DNA/RNA homeostasis, chromatin stability, and genome fidelity. The regulation of transcription of protein-coding genes and non-coding RNAs has been extensively studied; however, the exact regulatory mechanisms of transcription at DSBs remain enigmatic. These complex processes involve many players such as transcription-associated protein complexes, including kinases, transcription factors, chromatin remodeling complexes, and helicases. The damage-derived transcripts themselves also play an essential role in DDR regulation. In this review, we summarize the current findings on the regulation of transcription at DSBs and discussed the roles of various accessory proteins in these processes and consequently in DDR.

Original publication




Journal article


Front Mol Biosci

Publication Date





cohesin, double strand break, helicase, transcription, transcription factors