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1.  Checkpoint Kinases Regulate a Global Network of Transcription Factors in Response to DNA Damage 
Cell reports  2013;4(1):10.1016/j.celrep.2013.05.041.
DNA damage activates checkpoint kinases that induce several downstream events, including widespread changes in transcription. However, the specific connections between the checkpoint kinases and downstream transcription factors (TFs) are not well understood. Here, we integrate kinase mutant expression profiles, transcriptional regulatory interactions, and phosphoproteomics to map kinases and downstream TFs to transcriptional regulatory networks. Specifically, we investigate the role of the Saccharomyces cerevisiae checkpoint kinases (Mec1, Tel1, Chk1, Rad53, and Dun1) in the transcriptional response to DNA damage caused by methyl methanesulfonate. The result is a global kinase-TF regulatory network in which Mec1 and Tel1 signal through Rad53 to synergistically regulate the expression of more than 600 genes. This network involves at least nine TFs, many of which have Rad53-dependent phosphorylation sites, as regulators of checkpoint-kinase-dependent genes. We also identify a major DNA damage-induced transcriptional network that regulates stress response genes independently of the checkpoint kinases.
PMCID: PMC3855057  PMID: 23810556
2.  Dominant Mutations in S. cerevisiae PMS1 Identify the Mlh1-Pms1 Endonuclease Active Site and an Exonuclease 1-Independent Mismatch Repair Pathway 
PLoS Genetics  2013;9(10):e1003869.
Lynch syndrome (hereditary nonpolypsis colorectal cancer or HNPCC) is a common cancer predisposition syndrome. Predisposition to cancer in this syndrome results from increased accumulation of mutations due to defective mismatch repair (MMR) caused by a mutation in one of the mismatch repair genes MLH1, MSH2, MSH6 or PMS2/scPMS1. To better understand the function of Mlh1-Pms1 in MMR, we used Saccharomyces cerevisiae to identify six pms1 mutations (pms1-G683E, pms1-C817R, pms1-C848S, pms1-H850R, pms1-H703A and pms1-E707A) that were weakly dominant in wild-type cells, which surprisingly caused a strong MMR defect when present on low copy plasmids in an exo1Δ mutant. Molecular modeling showed these mutations caused amino acid substitutions in the metal coordination pocket of the Pms1 endonuclease active site and biochemical studies showed that they inactivated the endonuclease activity. This model of Mlh1-Pms1 suggested that the Mlh1-FERC motif contributes to the endonuclease active site. Consistent with this, the mlh1-E767stp mutation caused both MMR and endonuclease defects similar to those caused by the dominant pms1 mutations whereas mutations affecting the predicted metal coordinating residue Mlh1-C769 had no effect. These studies establish that the Mlh1-Pms1 endonuclease is required for MMR in a previously uncharacterized Exo1-independent MMR pathway.
Author Summary
Lynch syndrome (hereditary nonpolypsis colorectal cancer or HNPCC) is a common cancer predisposition syndrome. Predisposition to cancer in this syndrome results from increased accumulation of mutations due to defective mismatch repair (MMR) caused by a mutation in one of the mismatch repair genes MLH1, MSH2, MSH6 or PMS2/scPMS1. In addition to these genes, various DNA replication factors and the excision factor EXO1 function in the repair of damaged DNA by the MMR pathway. Although EXO1 is considered to be the major repair nuclease functioning in mismatch repair, the relatively low mutation rates caused by an exo1 deletion suggest otherwise. Here we used genetics, microscopy and protein biochemistry to analyze the model organism Saccharomyces cerevisiae to further characterize a poorly understood mismatch repair pathway that functions in the absence of EXO1 that is highly dependent on the Mlh1-Pms1 complex. Surprisingly, we found that the highly conserved metal binding site that is critical for the endonuclease activity of the Mlh1-Pms1 heterodimer is required for MMR in the absence of Exo1 to a much greater extent than in the presence of Exo1. Thus, this work establishes that there are at least two different polynucleotide excision pathways that function in MMR.
PMCID: PMC3814310  PMID: 24204293
3.  Mismatch repair, but not heteroduplex rejection, is temporally coupled to DNA replication 
Science (New York, N.Y.)  2011;334(6063):1713-1716.
In eukaryotes, it is unknown if mismatch repair (MMR) is temporally coupled to DNA replication and how strand-specific MMR is directed. Here we fused Saccharomyces cerevisiae MSH6 with cyclins to restrict the availability of the Msh2-Msh6 mismatch recognition complex to either S-phase or G2/M. The Msh6-S cyclin fusion was proficient for suppressing mutations at three loci that replicate at mid-S-phase, whereas the Msh6-G2/M cyclin fusion was defective. However, the Msh6-G2/M cyclin fusion was functional for MMR at a very late-replicating region of the genome. In contrast, the heteroduplex rejection function of MMR during recombination was partially functional during both S-phase and G2/M. These results indicate a temporal coupling of MMR, but not heteroduplex rejection, to DNA replication.
PMCID: PMC3806717  PMID: 22194578
4.  Visualization of Eukaryotic DNA Mismatch Repair Reveals Distinct Recognition and Repair Intermediates 
Cell  2011;147(5):1040-1053.
DNA Mismatch Repair (MMR) increases replication fidelity by eliminating mispaired bases resulting from replication errors. In Saccharomyces cerevisiae mispairs are primarily detected by the Msh2-Msh6 complex and corrected following subsequent recruitment of the Mlh1-Pms1 complex. Here, we visualized functional fluorescent versions of Msh2-Msh6 and Mlh1-Pms1 in living cells. Msh2-Msh6 formed foci in S-phase that colocalized with replication factories; this localized pool accounted for 10–15% of MMR in wild-type cells but was essential for MMR in the absence of the exonuclease Exo1. Mlh1-Pms1 also formed foci that, while requiring Msh2-Msh6 for their formation, rarely colocalized with Msh2-Msh6. Mlh1-Pms1 foci increased when the number of mispaired bases was increased; in contrast, Msh2-Msh6 foci were unaffected. These results suggest that (I) mispair recognition can occur via either a replication factory-targeted or a second distinct pool of Msh2-Msh6, and (II) superstoichiometric Mlh1-Pms1 assembly triggered by mispair-bound Msh2-Msh6 defines sites of active MMR.
PMCID: PMC3478091  PMID: 22118461
5.  SRD5A3 is required for the conversion of polyprenol to dolichol, essential for N-linked protein glycosylation 
Cell  2010;142(2):203-217.
N-linked glycosylation is the most frequent modification of secreted and membrane-bound proteins in eukaryotic cells, disruption of which is the basis of the Congenital Disorders of Glycosylation (CDG). We describe a new type of CDG caused by mutations in the steroid 5α-reductase type 3 (SRD5A3) gene. Patients have mental retardation, ophthalmologic and cerebellar defects. We found that SRD5A3 is necessary for the reduction of the alpha-isoprene unit of polyprenols to form dolichols, required for synthesis of dolichol-linked monosaccharides and the oligosaccharide precursor used for N-glycosylation. The presence of residual dolichol in cells depleted for this enzyme suggests the existence of an unexpected alternative pathway for dolichol de novo biosynthesis. Our results thus suggest that SRD5A3 is likely to be the long-sought polyprenol reductase and reveal the genetic basis of one of the earliest steps in protein N-linked glycosylation.
PMCID: PMC2940322  PMID: 20637498
N-glycosylation; dolichol; polyprenol; SRD5A3
6.  Cdc28/Cdk1 positively and negatively affects genome stability in S. cerevisiae 
The Journal of Cell Biology  2009;185(3):423-437.
We studied the function of the cyclin-dependent kinase Cdc28 (Cdk1) in the DNA damage response and maintenance of genome stability using Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Reduced Cdc28 activity sensitizes cells to chronic DNA damage, but Cdc28 is not required for cell viability upon acute exposure to DNA-damaging agents. Cdc28 is also not required for activation of the DNA damage and replication checkpoints. Chemical–genetic analysis reveals that CDC28 functions in an extensive network of pathways involved in maintenance of genome stability, including homologous recombination, sister chromatid cohesion, the spindle checkpoint, postreplication repair, and telomere maintenance. In addition, Cdc28 and Mre11 appear to cooperate to prevent mitotic catastrophe after DNA replication arrest. We show that reduced Cdc28 activity results in suppression of gross chromosomal rearrangements (GCRs), indicating that Cdc28 is required for formation or recovery of GCRs. Thus, we conclude that Cdc28 functions in a genetic network that supports cell viability during DNA damage while promoting the formation of GCRs.
PMCID: PMC2700387  PMID: 19398760
7.  Generation of Active Protein Phosphatase 2A Is Coupled to Holoenzyme Assembly  
PLoS Biology  2007;5(6):e155.
Protein phosphatase 2A (PP2A) is a prime example of the multisubunit architecture of protein serine/threonine phosphatases. Until substrate-specific PP2A holoenzymes assemble, a constitutively active, but nonspecific, catalytic C subunit would constitute a risk to the cell. While it has been assumed that the severe proliferation impairment of yeast lacking the structural PP2A subunit, TPD3, is due to the unrestricted activity of the C subunit, we recently obtained evidence for the existence of the C subunit in a low-activity conformation that requires the RRD/PTPA proteins for the switch into the active conformation. To study whether and how maturation of the C subunit is coupled with holoenzyme assembly, we analyzed PP2A biogenesis in yeast. Here we show that the generation of the catalytically active C subunit depends on the physical and functional interaction between RRD2 and the structural subunit, TPD3. The phenotype of the tpd3Δ strain is therefore caused by impaired, rather than increased, PP2A activity. TPD3/RRD2-dependent C subunit maturation is under the surveillance of the PP2A methylesterase, PPE1, which upon malfunction of PP2A biogenesis, prevents premature generation of the active C subunit and holoenzyme assembly by counteracting the untimely methylation of the C subunit. We propose a novel model of PP2A biogenesis in which a tightly controlled activation cascade protects cells from untargeted activity of the free catalytic PP2A subunit.
Author Summary
Multisubunit enzymes, such as protein phosphatase 2A, consist of a catalytic subunit and one of several regulatory subunits that are responsible for substrate specificity. Whereas this molecular architecture enables the assembly of a few components into many different substrate-specific enzymes, it possesses an inherent danger in the form of the uncomplexed catalytic subunit with its unspecific phosphatase activity. Until substrate-specific complexes assemble, the catalytic subunit would constitute a risk to the cell if no control mechanisms existed. We recently obtained evidence for the existence of the catalytic subunit in a low-activity conformation that requires an activator for the switch into the active conformation. This requirement suggested that the existing model of protein phosphatase 2A biogenesis was incomplete, because it could not explain how the activity of the catalytic subunit is kept in check until it is assembled with the substrate-targeting subunits. In this study, we provide evidence that the generation of the active catalytic subunit is coupled with and regulated by holoenzyme assembly. We propose a novel model of protein phosphatase biogenesis in which a tightly controlled activation cascade protects cells from the potential risk of unspecific dephosphorylation events.
Analysis of protein phosphatase 2A (PP2A) biogenesis in yeast suggests that a tightly controlled activation cascade, involving an interaction between the protein RRD2 and the structural subunit TPD3, protects cells from untargeted activity of the free catalytic PP2A subunit.
PMCID: PMC1885835  PMID: 17550305

Results 1-7 (7)