DNA damage foci: Meaning and significance

Kai Rothkamm*, Stephen Barnard, Jayne Moquet, Michele Ellender, Zohaib Rana, Susanne Burdak-Rothkamm

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

191 Citations (Scopus)


The discovery of DNA damage response proteins such as γH2AX, ATM, 53BP1, RAD51, and the MRE11/RAD50/NBS1 complex, that accumulate and/or are modified in the vicinity of a chromosomal DNA double-strand break to form microscopically visible, subnuclear foci, has revolutionized the detection of these lesions and has enabled studies of the cellular machinery that contributes to their repair. Double-strand breaks are induced directly by a number of physical and chemical agents, including ionizing radiation and radiomimetic drugs, but can also arise as secondary lesions during replication and DNA repair following exposure to a wide range of genotoxins. Here we aim to review the biological meaning and significance of DNA damage foci, looking specifically at a range of different settings in which such markers of DNA damage and repair are being studied and interpreted. Environ. Mol. Mutagen. 56:491-504, 2015.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)491-504
Number of pages14
JournalEnvironmental and Molecular Mutagenesis
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.


  • 53BP1
  • DNA double-strand break
  • Genotoxicity
  • Ionizing radiation
  • γH2AX


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