DNA Double-Strand Breaks as Pathogenic Lesions in Neurological Disorders

Vincent E. Provasek, Joy Mitra, Vikas H. Malojirao, Muralidhar L. Hegde

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


The damage and repair of DNA is a continuous process required to maintain genomic integrity. DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs) are the most lethal type of DNA damage and require timely repair by dedicated machinery. DSB repair is uniquely important to nondividing, post-mitotic cells of the central nervous system (CNS). These long-lived cells must rely on the intact genome for a lifetime while maintaining high metabolic activity. When these mechanisms fail, the loss of certain neuronal populations upset delicate neural networks required for higher cognition and disrupt vital motor functions. Mammalian cells engage with several different strategies to recognize and repair chromosomal DSBs based on the cellular context and cell cycle phase, including homologous recombination (HR)/homology-directed repair (HDR), microhomology-mediated end-joining (MMEJ), and the classic non-homologous end-joining (NHEJ). In addition to these repair pathways, a growing body of evidence has emphasized the importance of DNA damage response (DDR) signaling, and the involvement of heterogeneous nuclear ribonucleoprotein (hnRNP) family proteins in the repair of neuronal DSBs, many of which are linked to age-associated neurological disorders. In this review, we describe contemporary research characterizing the mechanistic roles of these non-canonical proteins in neuronal DSB repair, as well as their contributions to the etiopath-ogenesis of selected common neurological diseases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number4653
JournalInternational journal of molecular sciences
Issue number9
StatePublished - Apr 22 2022


  • DNA damage response
  • DNA double-strand break repair
  • TDP-43
  • dementia
  • hnRNPs
  • neurodegeneration
  • Recombinational DNA Repair
  • Mammals/genetics
  • DNA Breaks, Double-Stranded
  • DNA/genetics
  • Animals
  • Nervous System Diseases/genetics
  • DNA End-Joining Repair
  • DNA Repair

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Spectroscopy
  • Catalysis
  • Inorganic Chemistry
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry


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