Peter J McKinnon, Ph.D.

Peter J McKinnon, Ph.D.

Department of Genetics and Tumor
Cell Biology
St. Jude Children's Research Hospital

Affiliated Professor
Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology

St. Jude Children's Research Hospital
Department Genetics & Tumor Cell Biology
262 Danny Thomas Place
Memphis, TN 38105
Phone (901) 595-2700
Fax (901) 525-6035
Email: Peter J McKinnon


  • Ph.D. Institution: The Flinders Universiry of South Australia, Adelaide, Australia
  • Postdoctoral: The Roche Institute of Molecular Biology, Nutley, New Jersey


Research Interests

Our goal is to understand the role of the DNA damage response in the nervous system, and how this functions to prevent disease. The response to genotoxic stress is a prerequisite for development of the nervous system. Mutations in a variety of DNA damage-response factors can lead to human diseases that are characterized by pronounced neuropathology. In many of these syndromes the neurological component is amongst the most deleterious aspects of the disease. Because the nervous system poses a particular challenge in terms of clinical intervention, understanding how DNA repair deficiency impacts the nervous system will be important for design of therapies targeted at ameliorating neuropathology including neurodegeneration and brain tumors. For more information please see:

Representative Publications

  • Illuzzi JL, McNeill DR, Bastian P, Brenerman B, Wersto R, Russell HR, Bunz F, McKinnon PJ, Becker KG, Wilson DM 3rd. Tumor-associated APE1 variant exhibits reduced complementation efficiency but does not promote cancer cell phenotypes. Environ Mol Mutagen. 2017 Mar;58(2):84-98. doi: 10.1002/em.22074. Epub 2017 Feb 9. PubMed PMID: 28181292; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5321783.
  • Enriquez-Rios V, Dumitrache LC, Downing SM, Li Y, Brown EJ, Russell HR, McKinnon PJ. DNA-PKcs, ATM, and ATR Interplay Maintains Genome Integrity during Neurogenesis. J Neurosci. 2017 Jan 25;37(4):893-905. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.4213-15.2017. PubMed PMID: 28123024; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5296783.
  • Hoch NC, Hanzlikova H, Rulten SL, T√©treault M, Komulainen E, Ju L, Hornyak P, Zeng Z, Gittens W, Rey SA, Staras K, Mancini GM, McKinnon PJ, Wang ZQ, Wagner JD; Care4Rare Canada Consortium., Yoon G, Caldecott KW. XRCC1 mutation is associated with PARP1 hyperactivation and cerebellar ataxia. Nature. 2017 Jan 5;541(7635):87-91. doi: 10.1038/nature20790. Epub 2016 Dec 21. PubMed PMID: 28002403; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5218588.
  • McKinnon PJ. Topoisomerases and the regulation of neural function. Nat Rev Neurosci. 2016 Nov;17(11):673-679. doi: 10.1038/nrn.2016.101. Epub 2016 Sep 15. Review. PubMed PMID: 27630045; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5209242.
  • Al-Khalaf MH, Blake LE, Larsen BD, Bell RA, Brunette S, Parks RJ, Rudnicki MA, McKinnon PJ, Jeffrey Dilworth F, Megeney LA. Temporal activation of XRCC1-mediated DNA repair is essential for muscle differentiation. Cell Discov. 2016 Jan 12;2:15041. doi: 10.1038/celldisc.2015.41. eCollection 2016. PubMed PMID: 27462438; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4860966.
  • Ho Y, Li X, Jamison S, Harding HP, McKinnon PJ, Ron D, Lin W. PERK Activation Promotes Medulloblastoma Tumorigenesis by Attenuating Premalignant Granule Cell Precursor Apoptosis. Am J Pathol. 2016 Jul;186(7):1939-51. doi: 10.1016/j.ajpath.2016.03.004. Epub 2016 May 12. PubMed PMID: 27181404; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4929388.

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