Hedgehog signaling enables repair of ribosomal DNA double-strand breaks

Academic Article


  • Ribosomal DNA (rDNA) consists of highly repeated sequences that are prone to incurring damage. Delays or failure of rDNA double-strand break (DSB) repair are deleterious, and can lead to rDNA transcriptional arrest, chromosomal translocations, genomic losses, and cell death. Here, we show that the zinc-finger transcription factor GLI1, a terminal effector of the Hedgehog (Hh) pathway, is required for the repair of rDNA DSBs. We found that GLI1 is activated in triple-negative breast cancer cells in response to ionizing radiation (IR) and localizes to rDNA sequences in response to both global DSBs generated by IR and site-specific DSBs in rDNA. Inhibiting GLI1 interferes with rDNA DSB repair and impacts RNA polymerase I activity and cell viability. Our findings tie Hh signaling to rDNA repair and this heretofore unknown function may be critically important in proliferating cancer cells.
  • Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Pubmed Id

  • 27091897
  • Author List

  • Lama-Sherpa TD; Lin VTG; Metge BJ; Weeks SE; Chen D; Samant RS; Shevde LA
  • Start Page

  • 10342
  • End Page

  • 10352
  • Volume

  • 48
  • Issue

  • 18