MicroDNA levels are dependent on MMEJ, repressed by c-NHEJ pathway, and stimulated by DNA damage

Academic Article


  • Extrachromosomal circular DNA (eccDNA) are present within all eukaryotic organisms and actively contribute to gene expression changes. MicroDNA (200-1000bp) are the most abundant type of eccDNA and can amplify tRNA, microRNA, and novel si-like RNA sequences. Due to the heterogeneity of microDNA and the limited technology to directly quantify circular DNA molecules, the specific DNA repair pathways that contribute to microDNA formation have not been fully elucidated. Using a sensitive and quantitative assay that quantifies eight known abundant microDNA, we report that microDNA levels are dependent on resection after double-strand DNA break (DSB) and repair by Microhomology Mediated End Joining (MMEJ). Further, repair of DSB without resection by canonical Non-Homologous End Joining (c-NHEJ) diminishes microDNA formation. MicroDNA levels are induced locally even by a single site-directed DSB, suggesting that excision of genomic DNA by two closely spaced DSB is not necessary for microDNA formation. Consistent with all this, microDNA levels accumulate as cells undergo replication in S-phase, when DNA breaks and repair are elevated, and microDNA levels are decreased if DNA synthesis is prevented. Thus, formation of microDNA occurs during the repair of endogenous or induced DNA breaks by resection-based DNA repair pathways.
  • Authors

    Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Paulsen T; Malapati P; Shibata Y; Wilson B; Eki R; Benamar M; Abbas T; Dutta A
  • Start Page

  • 11787
  • End Page

  • 11799
  • Volume

  • 49
  • Issue

  • 20