MMEJ repair of double-strand breaks (director's cut): deleted sequences and alternative endings

Mitch McVey, Sang Eun Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

662 Scopus citations


DNA double-strand breaks are normal consequences of cell division and differentiation and must be repaired faithfully to maintain genome stability. Two mechanistically distinct pathways are known to efficiently repair double-strand breaks: homologous recombination and Ku-dependent non-homologous end joining. Recently, a third, less characterized repair mechanism, named microhomology-mediated end joining (MMEJ), has received increasing attention. MMEJ repairs DNA breaks via the use of substantial microhomology and always results in deletions. Furthermore, it probably contributes to oncogenic chromosome rearrangements and genetic variation in humans. Here, we summarize the genetic attributes of MMEJ from several model systems and discuss the relationship between MMEJ and 'alternative end joining'. We propose a mechanistic model for MMEJ and highlight important questions for future research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)529-538
Number of pages10
JournalTrends in Genetics
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics


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