In G(0) and G(1), DNA double strand breaks are repaired by nonhomologous end joining, whereas in S and G(2), they are also repaired by homologous recombination. The human CtIP protein controls double strand break (DSB) resection, an event that occurs effectively only in S/G(2) and that promotes homologous recombination but not non-homologous end joining. Here, we mutate a highly conserved cyclin-dependent kinase (CDK) target motif in CtIP and reveal that mutating Thr-847 to Ala impairs resection, whereas mutating it to Glu to mimic constitutive phosphorylation does not. Moreover, we show that unlike cells expressing wild-type CtIP, cells expressing the Thr-to-Glu mutant resect DSBs even after CDK inhibition. Finally, we establish that Thr-847 mutations to either Ala or Glu affect DSB repair efficiency, cause hypersensitivity toward DSB-generating agents, and affect the frequency and nature of radiation-induced chromosomal rearrangements. These results suggest that CDK-mediated control of resection in human cells operates by mechanisms similar to those recently established in yeast.
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