The DNA-dependent protein kinase (DNA-PK) is composed of a DNA-dependent protein kinase catalytic subunit (DNA-PKcs) and Ku70/Ku80 heterodimer. DNA-PK is thought to act as the "sensor" for DNA double-stranded breaks (DSB), which are considered the most deleterious type of DNA damage. In particular, DNA-PKcs and Ku are shown to be essential for DSB repair through nonhomologous end joining (NHEJ). The phenotypes of animals and human individuals with defective DNA-PKcs or Ku functions indicate their essential roles in these developments, especially in neuronal and immune systems. DNA-PKcs are structurally related to Ataxia-telangiectasia mutated (ATM), which is also implicated in the cellular responses to DSBs. DNA-PKcs and ATM constitute the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase-like kinases (PIKKs) family with several other molecules. Here, we review the accumulated knowledge on the functions of DNA-PKcs, mainly based on the phenotypes of DNA-PKcs-deficient cells in animals and human individuals, and also discuss its relationship with ATM in the maintenance of genomic stability.