Date of Graduation


Document Type

Dissertation (PhD)

Program Affiliation

Molecular Carcinogenesis

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Advisor/Committee Chair

David G. Johnson PhD

Committee Member

Susan M. Fischer, MS, PhD

Committee Member

Rodney S. Nairn, PhD

Committee Member

Richard D. Wood, PhD

Committee Member

Feng Wang-Johanning, MD, PhD


The importance of E2F transcription factors in the processes of proliferation and apoptosis are well established. E2F1, but not other E2F family members, is also phosphorylated and stabilized in response to various forms of DNA damage to regulate the expression of cell cycle and pro-apoptotic genes. E2F1 also relocalizes and forms foci at sites of DNA double-strand breaks but the function of E2F1 at sites of damage is still unknown. Here I reveal that E2F1 deficiency leads to increased spontaneous DNA break and impaired recovery following exposure to ionizing radiation. In response to DNA double-strand breaks, NBS1 phosphorylation and foci formation are defective in cells lacking E2F1, but NBS1 expression levels are unaffected. Moreover, it was observed that an association between NBS1 and E2F1 is increased in response to DNA damage, suggesting that E2F1 may promote NBS1 foci formation through a direct or indirect interaction at sites of DNA breaks. E2F1 deficient cells also display impaired foci formation of RPA and Rad51, which suggests a defect in DNA end resection and formation of single-stranded DNA at DNA double-strand breaks. I also found E2F1 status affects foci formation of the histone acetyltransferase GCN5 in response to DNA double-strand breaks. E2F1 is phosphorylated at serine 31 (serine 29 in mouse) by the ATM kinase as part of the DNA damage response. To investigate the importance of this event, our lab developed an E2F1 serine 29 mutant mouse model. I find that E2F1 serine 29 mutant cells show loss of E2F1 foci formation in response to DNA double-strand breaks. Furthermore, DNA repair and NBS1 foci formation are impaired in E2f1S29A/S29A cells. Taken together, my results indicate novel roles for E2F1 in the DNA damage response, which may directly promote DNA repair and genome maintenance.


DNA damage response, DNA double-strand break, E2F1, NBS1, DNA end resection, IR, GCN5, RPA, Rad51