Ribonucleotide incorporation enables repair of chromosome breaks by nonhomologous end joining

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Science  14 Sep 2018:
Vol. 361, Issue 6407, pp. 1126-1129
DOI: 10.1126/science.aat2477

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RNA takes over DNA repair

Damage to DNA genomes is normally thought to be repaired with DNA. Pryor et al. now describe a clear exception (see the Perspective by Modesti). They found that RNA is routinely incorporated during the repair of DNA double-strand breaks through the mammalian nonhomologous end–joining (NHEJ) pathway. In a variety of contexts, including V(D)J recombination and Cas9-induced genome engineering, two “DNA” polymerases specific to NHEJ preferentially added RNA in cells. These RNA additions facilitated the critical step of ligation and were later replaced by DNA to complete the NHEJ repair process.

Science, this issue p. 1126; see also p. 1069