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ATM Engages Autodegradation of the E3 Ubiquitin Ligase COP1 After DNA Damage

Science, 25 August 2006
Vol. 313, Issue 5790, p. 1122-1126
DOI: 10.1126/science.1127335

ATM Engages Autodegradation of the E3 Ubiquitin Ligase COP1 After DNA Damage

  1. David Dornan1,
  2. Harumi Shimizu1,
  3. Angie Mah1,
  4. Tanay Dudhela1,
  5. Michael Eby2,
  6. Karen O'Rourke1,
  7. Somasekar Seshagiri2,
  8. Vishva M. Dixit1,*
  1. 1 Department of Physiological Chemistry, Genentech, Inc., 1 DNA Way, South San Francisco, CA 94080, USA.
  2. 2 Department of Molecular Biology, Genentech, Inc., 1 DNA Way, South San Francisco, CA 94080, USA.
  1. * To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: dixit{at}


The ataxia telangiectasia mutated (ATM) protein kinase is a critical component of a DNA-damage response network configured to maintain genomic integrity. The abundance of an essential downstream effecter of this pathway, the tumor suppressor protein p53, is tightly regulated by controlled degradation through COP1 and other E3 ubiquitin ligases, such as MDM2 and Pirh2; however, the signal transduction pathway that regulates the COP1-p53 axis following DNA damage remains enigmatic. We observed that in response to DNA damage, ATM phosphorylated COP1 on Ser387 and stimulated a rapid autodegradation mechanism. Ionizing radiation triggered an ATM-dependent movement of COP1 from the nucleus to the cytoplasm, and ATM-dependent phosphorylation of COP1 on Ser387 was both necessary and sufficient to disrupt the COP1-p53 complex and subsequently to abrogate the ubiquitination and degradation of p53. Furthermore, phosphorylation of COP1 on Ser387 was required to permit p53 to become stabilized and to exert its tumor suppressor properties in response to DNA damage.

  • Received for publication 13 March 2006.
  • Accepted for publication 19 June 2006.


D. Dornan, H. Shimizu, A. Mah, T. Dudhela, M. Eby, K. O'Rourke, S. Seshagiri, and V. M. Dixit, ATM Engages Autodegradation of the E3 Ubiquitin Ligase COP1 After DNA Damage. Science 313, 1122-1126 (2006).

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