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1.  An archaeal RadA paralog influences presynaptic filament formation 
DNA repair  2013;12(6):403-413.
Recombinases of the RecA family play vital roles in homologous recombination, a high-fidelity mechanism to repair DNA double-stranded breaks. These proteins catalyze strand invasion and exchange after forming dynamic nucleoprotein filaments on ssDNA. Increasing evidence suggests that stabilization of these dynamic filaments is a highly conserved function across diverse species. Here, we analyze the presynaptic filament formation and DNA binding characteristics of the Sulfolobus solfataricus recombinase SsoRadA in conjunction with the SsoRadA paralog SsoRal1. In addition to constraining SsoRadA ssDNA-dependent ATPase activity, the paralog also enhances SsoRadA ssDNA binding, effectively influencing activities necessary for presynaptic filament formation. These activities result in enhanced SsoRadA-mediated strand invasion in the presence of SsoRal1 and suggest a filament stabilization function for the SsoRal1 protein.
PMCID: PMC4084651  PMID: 23622866
Paralog; Presynapsis; Recombinase mutants; Nucleoprotein filament dynamics; SsoRadA; SsoRal1
2.  Competition between PARP-1 and Ku70 control the decision between high-fidelity and mutagenic DNA repair 
DNA repair  2011;10(3):338-343.
Affinity maturation of antibodies requires a unique process of targeted mutation that allows changes to accumulate in the antibody genes while the rest of the genome is protected from off-target mutations that can be oncogenic. This targeting requires that the same deamination event be repaired either by a mutagenic or a high-fidelity pathway depending on the genomic location. We have previously shown that the BRCT domain of the DNA-damage sensor PARP-1 is required for mutagenic repair occurring in the context of IgH and IgL diversification in the chicken B cell line DT40. Here we show that immunoprecipitation of the BRCT domain of PARP-1 pulls down Ku70 and the DNA–PK complex although the BRCT domain of PARP-1 does not bind DNA, suggesting that this interaction is not DNA dependent. Through sequencing the IgL variable region in PARP-1−/− cells that also lack Ku70 or Lig4, we show that Ku70 or Lig4 deficiency restores GCV to PARP-1−/− cells and conclude that the mechanism by which PARP-1 is promoting mutagenic repair is by inhibiting high-fidelity repair which would otherwise be mediated by Ku70 and Lig4.
PMCID: PMC4079052  PMID: 21256093
PARP-1; DNA–PK; DNA repair; Gene conversion
3.  Brh2 and Rad51 promote telomere maintenance in Ustilago maydis, a new model system of DNA repair proteins at telomeres 
DNA repair  2013;12(7):472-479.
Recent studies implicate a number of DNA repair proteins in mammalian telomere maintenance. However, because several key repair proteins in mammals are missing from the well-studied budding and fission yeast, their roles at telomeres cannot be modeled in standard fungi. In this report, we explored the dimorphic fungus Ustilago maydis as an alternative model for telomere research. This fungus, which belongs to the phylum Basidiomycota, has a telomere repeat unit that is identical to the mammalian repeat, as well as a constellation of DNA repair proteins that more closely mimic the mammalian collection. We showed that the two core components of homology-directed repair (HDR) in U. maydis, namely Brh2 and Rad51, both promote telomere maintenance in telomerase positive cells, just like in mammals. In addition, we found that Brh2 is localized to telomeres in vivo, suggesting that it acts directly at chromosome ends. We surveyed a series of mutants with DNA repair defects, and found many of them to have short telomeres. Our results indicate that factors involved in DNA repair are probably also needed for optimal telomere maintenance in U. maydis, and that this fungus is a useful alternative model system for telomere research.
PMCID: PMC3684436  PMID: 23726221
Telomere; Ustilago maydis; Homology-directed repair; Brh2; Rad51
4.  Persistent damage induces mitochondrial DNA degradation 
DNA repair  2013;12(7):488-499.
Considerable progress has been made recently toward understanding the processes of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) damage and repair. However, a paucity of information still exists regarding the physiological effects of persistent mtDNA damage. This is due, in part, to experimental difficulties associated with targeting mtDNA for damage, while sparing nuclear DNA. Here, we characterize two systems designed for targeted mtDNA damage based on the inducible (Tet-ON) mitochondrial expression of the bacterial enzyme, exonuclease III, and the human enzyme, uracil-N-glyosylase containing the Y147A mutation. In both systems, damage was accompanied by degradation of mtDNA, which was detectable by six hours after induction of mutant uracil-N-glycosylase and by twelve hours after induction of exoIII. Unexpectedly, increases in the steady-state levels of single-strand lesions, which led to degradation, were small in absolute terms indicating that both abasic sites and single-strand gaps may be poorly tolerated in mtDNA. mtDNA degradation was accompanied by the loss of expression of mtDNA-encoded COX2. After withdrawal of the inducer, recovery from mtDNA depletion occurred faster in the system expressing exonuclease III, but in both systems reduced mtDNA levels persisted longer than 144h after doxycycline withdrawal. mtDNA degradation was followed by reduction and loss of respiration, decreased membrane potential, reduced cell viability, reduced intrinsic reactive oxygen species production, slowed proliferation, and changes in mitochondrial morphology (fragmentation of the mitochondrial network, rounding and “foaming” of the mitochondria). The mutagenic effects of abasic sites in mtDNA were low, which indicates that damaged mtDNA molecules may be degraded if not rapidly repaired. This study establishes, for the first time, that mtDNA degradation can be a direct and immediate consequence of persistent mtDNA damage and that increased ROS production is not an invariant consequence of mtDNA damage.
PMCID: PMC3683391  PMID: 23721969
mtDNA damage; mtDNA degradation; mtDNA repair; exoIII; UNG1 Y147A; Reactive Oxygen Species
5.  PARP-mediated Repair, Homologous Recombination, and Back-up Non-Homologous End Joining-Like Repair of Single-Strand Nicks 
DNA repair  2013;12(7):529-534.
Double-strand breaks (DSBs) in chromosomal DNA can induce both homologous recombination (HR) and non-homologous recombination (NHEJ). Recently we showed that single-strand nicks induce HR with a significant reduction in toxicity and mutagenic effects associated with NHEJ. To further investigate the differences and similarities of DSB- and nick-induced repair, we used an integrated reporter system in human cells to measure HR and NHEJ produced by the homing endonuclease I-AniI and a designed ‘nickase’ variant that nicks the same target site, focusing on the PARP and HR repair pathways. PARP inhibitors, which block single-strand break repair, increased the rate of nick-induced HR up to 1.7-fold but did not affect DSB-induced HR or mutNHEJ. Additionally, expression of the PALB2 WD40 domain in trans acted as a dominant-negative inhibitor of both DSB- and nick-induced HR, sensitized cells to PARP inhibition, and revealed an alternative mutagenic repair pathway for nicks. Thus, while both DSB- and nick-induced HR use a common pathway, their substrates are differentially processed by cellular factors. These results also suggest that the synthetic lethality of PARP and BRCA may be due to repair of nicks through an error prone, NHEJ-like mechanism that is active when both PARP and HR pathways are blocked.
PMCID: PMC3683368  PMID: 23684799
homologous recombination; non-homologous recombination; PARP; single-strand nick; nickase; gene correction
6.  The RECQL4 protein, deficient in Rothmund-Thomson syndrome is active on telomeric D-Loops containing DNA metabolism blocking lesions 
DNA repair  2013;12(7):518-528.
Telomeres are critical for cell survival and functional integrity. Oxidative DNA damage induces telomeric instability and cellular senescence that are associated with normal aging and segmental premature aging disorders such as Werner Syndrome and Rothmund-Thompson Syndrome, caused by mutations in WRN and RECQL4 helicases respectively. Characterizing the metabolic roles of RECQL4 and WRN in telomere maintenance is crucial in understanding the pathogenesis of their associated disorders. We have previously shown that WRN and RECQL4 display a preference in vitro to unwind telomeric DNA substrates containing the oxidative lesion 8-oxoguanine. Here, we show that RECQL4 helicase has a preferential activity in vitro on telomeric substrates containing thymine glycol, a critical lesion that blocks DNA metabolism, and can be modestly stimulated further on a D-Loop structure by TRF2, a telomeric shelterin protein. Unlike that reported for telomeric D-Loops containing 8-oxoguanine, RECQL4 does not cooperate with WRN to unwind telomeric D-Loops with thymine glycol, suggesting RECQL4 helicase is selective for the type of oxidative lesion. RECQL4’s function at the telomere is not yet understood, and our findings suggest a novel role for RECQL4 in the repair of thymine glycol lesions to promote efficient telomeric maintenance.
PMCID: PMC3710707  PMID: 23683351
RECQL4; WRN; thymine glycol; telomeres
7.  Repair of Chromosomal Double-Strand Breaks by Precise Ligation in Human Cells 
DNA repair  2013;12(7):480-487.
Double-strand breaks (DSBs), a common type of DNA lesion, occur daily in human cells as a result of both endogenous and exogenous damaging agents. DSBs are repaired in two general ways: by the homology-dependent, error-free pathways of homologous recombination (HR) and by the homology-independent, error-prone pathways of nonhomologous end-joining (NHEJ), with NHEJ predominating in most cells. DSBs with compatible ends can be re-joined in vitro with DNA ligase alone, which raises the question of whether such DSBs require the more elaborate machinery of NHEJ to be repaired in cells. Here we report that chromosomal DSBs with compatible ends introduced by the rare-cutting endonuclease, ISceI, are repaired by precise ligation nearly 100% of the time in human cells. Precise ligation depends on the classical NHEJ components Ku70, XRCC4, and DNA ligase IV, since siRNA knockdowns of these factors significantly reduced the efficiency of precise ligation. Interestingly, knockdown of the tumor suppressors p53 or BRCA1 showed similar effects as the knockdowns of NHEJ factors. In contrast, knockdown of components involved in alternative NHEJ, mismatch repair, nucleotide excision repair, and single-strand break repair did not reduce precise ligation. In summary, our results demonstrate that DSBs in human cells are efficiently repaired by precise ligation, which requires classical NHEJ components and is enhanced by p53 and BRCA1.
PMCID: PMC3736570  PMID: 23707303
8.  Activity and crystal structure of human thymine DNA glycosylase mutant N140A with 5-carboxylcytosine DNA at low pH 
DNA repair  2013;12(7):535-540.
The mammalian thymine DNA glycosylase (TDG) excises 5-carboxylcytosine (5caC) when paired with a guanine in a CpG sequence, in addition to mismatched bases. Here we present a complex structure of the human TDG catalytic mutant, asparagine 140 to alanine (N140A), with a 28-base pair DNA containing a G:5caC pair at pH 4.6. TDG interacts with the carboxylate moiety of target nucleotide 5caC using the side chain of asparagine 230 (N230), instead of asparagine 157 (N157) as previously reported. Mutation of either N157 or N230 residues to aspartate has minimal effect on G:5caC activity while significantly reducing activity on G:U substrate. Combination of both the asparagine-to-aspartate mutations (N157D/N230D) resulted in complete loss of activity on G:5caC while retaining measurable activity on G:U, implying that 5caC can adopt alternative conformations (either N157-interacting or N230-interacting) in the TDG active site to interact with either of the two asparagine side chain for 5caC excision.
PMCID: PMC3758246  PMID: 23680598
5-Carboxylcytosine; Thymine DNA glycosylase; DNA modification; DNA 5mC oxidation; Epigenetic regulation
9.  Holliday junction resolution: Regulation in space and time 
DNA Repair  2014;19(100):176-181.
Holliday junctions (HJs) can be formed between sister chromatids or homologous chromosomes during the recombinational repair of DNA lesions. A variety of pathways act upon HJs to remove them from DNA, in events that are critical for appropriate chromosome segregation. Despite the identification and characterization of multiple enzymes involved in HJ processing, the cellular mechanisms that regulate and implement pathway usage have only just started to be delineated. A conserved network of core cell-cycle kinases and phosphatases modulate HJ metabolism by exerting spatial and temporal control over the activities of two structure-selective nucleases: yeast Mus81-Mms4 (human MUS81-EME1) and Yen1 (human GEN1). These regulatory cycles operate to establish the sequential activation of HJ processing enzymes, implementing a hierarchy in pathway usage that ensure the elimination of chromosomal interactions which would otherwise interfere with chromosome segregation. Mus81-Mms4/EME1 and Yen1/GEN1 emerge to define a special class of enzymes, evolved to satisfy the cellular need of safeguarding the completion of DNA repair when on the verge of chromosome segregation.
PMCID: PMC4065333  PMID: 24767945
DNA repair; Cell-cycle; Recombination; Nuclease; Resolvase; Mus81; Mms4; EME1; Yen1; GEN1; Cdc5; PLK1; Slx1; Slx4
10.  The contribution of dormant origins to genome stability: From cell biology to human genetics 
DNA Repair  2014;19(100):182-189.
The ability of a eukaryotic cell to precisely and accurately replicate its DNA is crucial to maintain genome stability. Here we describe our current understanding of the process by which origins are licensed for DNA replication and review recent work suggesting that fork stalling has exerted a strong selective pressure on the positioning of licensed origins. In light of this, we discuss the complex and disparate phenotypes observed in mouse models and humans patients that arise due to defects in replication licensing proteins.
PMCID: PMC4065331  PMID: 24767947
MCM2–7; Origin licensing; Replication origins; Dormant origins; Meier–Gorlin; Pre-RC
11.  Substrate Binding Pocket Residues of Human Alkyladenine-DNA Glycosylase Critical for Methylating Agent Survival 
DNA repair  2008;7(10):1731-1745.
Human alkyladenine-DNA glycosylase (AAG) initiates base excision repair (BER) of alkylated and deaminated bases in DNA. Here, we assessed the mutability of the AAG substrate binding pocket, and the essentiality of individual binding pocket amino acids for survival of methylation damage. We used oligonucleotide-directed mutagenesis to randomize 19 amino acids, 8 of which interact with substrate bases, and created more than 4.5 million variants. We expressed the mutant AAG's in repair-deficient E. coli and selected for protection against the cytotoxicity of either methylmethane sulfonate (MMS) or methyl-lexitropsin (Me-lex), an agent that produces 3-methyladenine as the predominant base lesion. Sequence analysis of 116 methylation-resistant mutants revealed no substitutions for highly conserved Tyr127and His136. In contrast, one mutation, L180F, was greatly enriched in both the MMS- and Me-lex-resistant libraries. Expression of the L180F single mutant conferred 4.4-fold enhanced survival at the high dose of MMS used for selection. The homogeneous L180F mutant enzyme exhibited 2.2-fold reduced excision of 3-methyladenine and 7.3-fold reduced excision of 7-methylguanine from methylated calf thymus DNA. Decreased excision of methylated bases by the mutant glycosylase could promote survival at high MMS concentrations, where the capacity of downstream enzymes to process toxic BER intermediates may be saturated. The mutant also displayed 6.6-, and 3.0-fold reduced excision of 1,N6-ethenoadenine and hypoxanthine from oligonucleotide substrates, respectively, and a 1.7-fold increase in binding to abasic site-containing DNA. Our work provides in vivo evidence for the substrate binding mechanism deduced from crystal structures, illuminates the function of Leu180 in wild-type human AAG, and is consistent with a role for balanced expression of BER enzymes in damage survival.
PMCID: PMC4073691  PMID: 18706524
Alkylating agents; base excision repair; 3-methyladenine; 7-methylguanine; methyl-lexitropsin; random mutagenesis
12.  Trimming of damaged 3′ overhangs of DNA double-strand breaks by the Metnase and Artemis endonucleases 
DNA repair  2013;12(6):422-432.
Both Metnase and Artemis possess endonuclease activities that trim 3′ overhangs of duplex DNA. To assess the potential of these enzymes for facilitating resolution of damaged ends during double-strand break rejoining, substrates bearing a variety of normal and structurally modified 3′ overhangs were constructed, and treated either with Metnase or with Artemis plus DNA-dependent protein kinase (DNA-PK). Unlike Artemis, which trims long overhangs to 4–5 bases, cleavage by Metnase was more evenly distributed over the length of the overhang, but with significant sequence dependence. In many substrates, Metnase also induced marked cleavage in the double-stranded region within a few bases of the overhang. Like Artemis, Metnase efficiently trimmed overhangs terminated in 3′-phosphoglycolates (PGs), and in some cases the presence of 3′-PG stimulated cleavage and altered its specificity. The nonplanar base thymine glycol in a 3′ overhang severely inhibited cleavage by Metnase in the vicinity of the modified base, while Artemis was less affected. Nevertheless, thymine glycol moieties could be removed by Metnase- or Artemis-mediated cleavage at sites farther from the terminus than the lesion itself. In in vitro end-joining systems based on human cell extracts, addition of Artemis, but not Metnase, effected robust trimming of an unligatable 3′-PG overhang, resulting in a dramatic stimulation of ligase IV- and XLF-dependent end joining. Thus, while both Metnase and Artemis are biochemically capable of resolving a variety of damaged DNA ends for the repair of complex double-strand breaks, Artemis appears to act more efficiently in the context of other nonhomologous end joining proteins.
PMCID: PMC3660496  PMID: 23602515
13.  Functional deficit associated with a missense Werner syndrome mutation 
DNA repair  2013;12(6):414-421.
Werner Syndrome (WS) is a rare autosomal recessive disorder caused by mutations in the WRN gene. WRN helicase, a member of the RecQ helicase family, is involved in various DNA metabolic pathways including DNA replication, recombination, DNA repair and telomere maintenance. In this study, we have characterized the G574R missense mutation, which was recently identified in a WS patient. Our biochemical experiments with purified mutant recombinant WRN protein showed that the G574R mutation inhibits ATP binding, and thereby leads to significant decrease in helicase activity. Exonuclease activity of the mutant protein was not significantly affected, whereas its single strand DNA annealing activity was higher than that of wild type. Deficiency in the helicase activity of the mutant may cause defects in replication and other DNA metabolic processes, which in turn could be responsible for the Werner syndrome phenotype in the patient. In contrast to the usual appearance of WS, the G574R patient has normal stature. Thus the short stature normally associated with WS may not be due to helicase deficiency.
PMCID: PMC3660515  PMID: 23583337
Werner syndrome; missense mutation; loss of helicase; ATP binding defect
14.  The substrate binding interface of alkylpurine DNA glycosylase AlkD 
DNA repair  2013;13:50-54.
Tandem helical repeats have emerged as an important DNA binding architecture. DNA glycosylase AlkD, which excises N3- and N7-alkylated nucleobases, uses repeating helical motifs to bind duplex DNA and to selectively pause at non-Watson-Crick base pairs. Remodeling of the DNA backbone promotes nucleotide flipping of the lesion and the complementary base into the solvent and toward the protein surface, respectively. The important features of this new DNA binding architecture that allow AlkD to distinguish between damaged and normal DNA without contacting the lesion are poorly understood. Here, we show through extensive mutational analysis that DNA binding and N3-methyladenine (3mA) and N7-methylguanine (7mG) excision are dependent upon each residue lining the DNA binding interface. Disrupting electrostatic or hydrophobic interactions with the DNA backbone substantially reduced binding affinity and catalytic activity. These results demonstrate that residues seemingly only involved in general DNA binding are important for catalytic activity and imply that base excision is driven by binding energy provided by the entire substrate interface of this novel DNA binding architecture.
PMCID: PMC4039204  PMID: 24286669
Base excision repair; DNA glycosylase; Protein-DNA interaction; HEAT repeat; ALK motif; Alkylpurine
15.  DNA-PK: a dynamic enzyme in a versatile DSB repair pathway 
DNA repair  2014;17:21-29.
DNA double stranded breaks (DSBs) are the most cytoxic DNA lesion as the inability to properly repair them can lead to genomic instability and tumorigenesis. The prominent DSB repair pathway in humans is non-homologous end-joining (NHEJ). In the simplest sense, NHEJ mediates the direct re-ligation of the broken DNA molecule. However, NHEJ is a complex and versatile process that can repair DSBs with a variety of damages and ends via the utilization of a significant number of proteins. In this review we will describe the important factors and mechanisms modulating NHEJ with emphasis given to the versatility of this repair process and the DNA-PK complex.
PMCID: PMC4032623  PMID: 24680878
DNA double strand breaks; non-homologous end-joining; Ku70/80; DNA-PKcs; XRCC4; DNA Ligase IV; XLF
16.  Non-productive DNA damage binding by DNA glycosylase-like protein Mag2 from Schizosaccharomyces pombe 
DNA repair  2012;12(3):196-204.
Schizosaccharomyces pombe contains two paralogous proteins, Mag1 and Mag2, related to the helix-hairpin-helix (HhH) superfamily of alkylpurine DNA glycosylases from yeast and bacteria. Phylogenetic analysis of related proteins from four Schizosaccharomyces and other fungal species shows that the Mag1/Mag2 duplication is unique to the genus Schizosaccharomyces and most likely occurred in its ancestor. Mag1 excises N3- and N7-alkylguanines and 1,N6-ethenoadenine from DNA, whereas Mag2 has been reported to have no detectible alkylpurine base excision activity despite high sequence and active site similarity to Mag1. To understand this discrepancy we determined the crystal structure of Mag2 bound to abasic DNA and compared it to our previously determined Mag1-DNA structure. In contrast to Mag1, Mag2 does not flip the abasic moiety into the active site or stabilize the DNA strand 5′ to the lesion, suggesting that it is incapable of forming a catalytically competent protein-DNA complex. Subtle differences in Mag1 and Mag2 interactions with the DNA duplex illustrate how Mag2 can stall at damage sites without fully engaging the lesion. We tested our structural predictions by mutational analysis of base excision and found a single amino acid responsible at least in part for Mag2’s lack of activity. Substitution of Mag2 Asp56, which caps the helix at the base of the DNA intercalation loop, with the corresponding serine residue in Mag1 endows Mag2 with εA excision activity comparable to Mag1. This work provides novel insight into the chemical and physical determinants by which the HhH glycosylases engage DNA in a catalytically productive manner.
PMCID: PMC4008723  PMID: 23273506
base excision repair; DNA glycosylase; ethenoadenine; 3-methyladenine; protein-DNA interactions
17.  PCNA trimer instability inhibits translesion synthesis by DNA polymerase η and by DNA polymerase δ 
DNA repair  2013;12(5):367-376.
Translesion synthesis (TLS), the process by which DNA polymerases replicate through DNA lesions, is the source of most DNA damage-induced mutations. Sometimes TLS is carried out by replicative polymerases that have evolved to synthesize DNA on non-damaged templates. Most of the time, however, TLS is carried out by specialized translesion polymerases that have evolved to synthesize DNA on damaged templates. TLS requires the mono-ubiquitylation of the replication accessory factor proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA). PCNA and ubiquitin-modified PCNA (UbPCNA) stimulate TLS by replicative and translesion polymerases. Two mutant forms of PCNA, one with an E113G substitution and one with a G178S substitution, support normal cell growth but inhibit TLS thereby reducing mutagenesis in yeast. A re-examination of the structures of both mutant PCNA proteins revealed substantial disruptions of the subunit interface that forms the PCNA trimer. Both mutant proteins have reduced trimer stability with the G178S substitution causing a more severe defect. The mutant forms of PCNA and UbPCNA do not stimulate TLS of an abasic site by either replicative Pol δ or translesion Pol η. Normal replication by Pol η was also impacted, but normal replication by Pol δ was much less affected. These findings support a model in which reduced trimer stability causes these mutant PCNA proteins to occasionally undergo conformational changes that compromise their ability to stimulate TLS by both replicative and translesion polymerases.
PMCID: PMC3636165  PMID: 23506842
DNA replication; DNA repair; DNA polymerase; translesion synthesis; mutagenesis
18.  Mouse DNA Polymerase Kappa Has A Functional Role In the Repair of DNA Strand Breaks 
DNA repair  2013;12(5):377-388.
The Y-family of DNA polymerases support of translesion DNA synthesis (TLS) associated with stalled DNA replication by DNA damage. Recently, a number of studies suggest that some specialized TLS polymerases also support other aspects of DNA metabolism beyond TLS in vivo. Here we show that mouse polymerase kappa (Polκ) could accumulate at laser-induced sites of damage in vivo resembling polymerases eta and iota. The recruitment was mediated through Polκ C-terminus which contains the PCNA-interacting peptide, ubiquitin zinc finger motif 2 and nuclear localization signal. Interestingly, this recruitment was significantly reduced in MSH2-deficient LoVo cells and Rad18-depleted cells. We further observed that Polκ-deficient mouse embryo fibroblasts were abnormally sensitive to H2O2 treatment and displayed defects in both single-strand break repair and double-strand break repair. We speculate that Polκ may have an important role in strand break repair following oxidative stress in vivo.
PMCID: PMC3636179  PMID: 23522793
Polymerase kappa; PCNA; MSH2; strand break repair; laser micro-irradiation
19.  Tid1/Rdh54 translocase is phosphorylated through a Mec1- and Rad53-dependent manner in the presence of DSB lesions in budding yeast 
DNA repair  2013;12(5):347-355.
Saccharomyces cerevisiae cells with a single double-strand break (DSB) activate the ATR/Mec1-dependent checkpoint response as a consequence of extensive ssDNA accumulation. The recombination factor Tid1/Rdh54, a member of the Swi2-like family proteins, has an ATPase activity and may contribute to the remodeling of nucleosomes on DNA. Tid1 dislocates Rad51 recombinase from dsDNA, can unwind and supercoil DNA filaments, and has been implicated in checkpoint adaptation from a G2/M arrest induced by an unrepaired DSB.
Here we show that both ATR/Mec1 and Chk2/Rad53 kinases are implicated in the phosphorylation of Tid1 in the presence of DNA damage, indicating that the protein is regulated during the DNA damage response. We show that Tid1 ATPase activity is dispensable for its phosphorylation and for its recruitment near a DSB, but it is required to switch off Rad53 activation and for checkpoint adaptation. Mec1 and Rad53 kinases, together with Rad51 recombinase, are also implicated in the hyper-phosphorylation of the ATPase defective Tid1-K318R variant and in the efficient binding of the protein to the DSB site. In summary, Tid1 is a novel target of the DNA damage checkpoint pathway that is also involved in checkpoint adaptation.
PMCID: PMC3641649  PMID: 23473644
Double Strand Break (DSB); DNA recombination; checkpoint adaptation; DNA damage
20.  The spatial organization of non-homologous end joining: From bridging to end joining 
DNA Repair  2014;17(100):98-109.
•Structural analyses of NHEJ suggest mechanisms of DNA double-strand break repair.•Complexes of Artemis with LigIV and DNA-PK define spatiotemporal relationships.•Disease-causing mutations in Artemis, LigIV and XLF are explained by 3D structure.
Non-homologous end joining (NHEJ) repairs DNA double-strand breaks generated by DNA damage and also those occurring in V(D)J recombination in immunoglobulin and T cell receptor production in the immune system. In NHEJ DNA-PKcs assembles with Ku heterodimer on the DNA ends at double-strand breaks, in order to bring the broken ends together and to assemble other proteins, including DNA ligase IV (LigIV), required for DNA repair. Here we focus on structural aspects of the interactions of LigIV with XRCC4, XLF, Artemis and DNA involved in the bridging and end-joining steps of NHEJ. We begin with a discussion of the role of XLF, which interacts with Ku and forms a hetero-filament with XRCC4; this likely forms a scaffold bridging the DNA ends. We then review the well-defined interaction of XRCC4 with LigIV, and discuss the possibility of this complex interrupting the filament formation, so positioning the ligase at the correct positions close to the broken ends. We also describe the interactions of LigIV with Artemis, the nuclease that prepares the ends for ligation and also interacts with DNA-PK. Lastly we review the likely affects of Mendelian mutations on these multiprotein assemblies and their impacts on the form of inherited disease.
PMCID: PMC4037875  PMID: 24636752
Non-homologous end joining; DNA-PKcs; Artemis, DNA ligase IV; XRCC4; XLF; Cernunnus; LIG4 syndrome
21.  Alkyladenine DNA glycosylase (AAG) localizes to mitochondria and interacts with mitochondrial single-stranded binding protein (mtSSB) 
DNA repair  2013;12(3):177-187.
Due to a harsh environment mitochondrial genomes accumulate high levels of DNA damage, in particular oxidation, hydrolytic deamination, and alkylation adducts. While repair of alkylated bases in nuclear DNA has been explored in detail, much less is known about the repair of DNA alkylation damage in mitochondria. Alkyladenine DNA glycosylase (AAG) recognizes and removes numerous alkylated bases, but to date AAG has only been detected in the nucleus, even though mammalian mitochondria are known to repair DNA lesions that are specific substrates of AAG. Here we use immunofluorescence to show that AAG localizes to mitochondria, and we find that native AAG is present in purified human mitochondrial extracts, as well as that exposure to alkylating agent promotes AAG accumulation in the mitochondria. We identify mitochondrial single-stranded binding protein (mtSSB) as a novel interacting partner of AAG; interaction between mtSSB and AAG is direct and increases upon methyl methanesulfonate (MMS) treatment. The consequence of this interaction is specific inhibition of AAG glycosylase activity in the context of a single-stranded DNA (ssDNA), but not a double-stranded DNA (dsDNA) substrate. By inhibiting AAG-initiated processing of damaged bases, mtSSB potentially prevents formation of DNA breaks in ssDNA, ensuring that base removal primarily occurs in dsDNA. In summary, our findings suggest the existence of AAG-initiated BER in mitochondria and further support a role for mtSSB in DNA repair.
PMCID: PMC3998512  PMID: 23290262
mitochondria; base excision repair; alkyladenine DNA glycosylase; mitochondrial single-stranded binding protein
22.  A histone-like protein of Helicobacter pylori protects DNA from stress damage and aids host colonization 
DNA repair  2012;11(9):733-740.
Genomic DNA in a bacterial cell is folded into a compact structure called a nucleoid, and nucleoid-associated proteins are responsible for proper assembly of active higher-order genome structures. The human gastric pathogen Helicobacter pylori express a nucleoid-associated protein encoded by the hup gene, which is the homolog to the Escherichia coli histone-like protein HU. An H. pylori hup mutant strain (X47 hup:cat) showed a defect in stationary phase survival. The X47 hup:cat mutant was more sensitive to the DNA damaging agent mitomycin C, and displayed a decreased frequency of DNA recombination, indicating Hup plays a significant role in facilitating DNA recombinational repair. The X47 hup:cat mutant was also sensitive to both oxidative and acid stress, conditions that H. pylori commonly encounters in the host. The hup mutant cells survived significantly (7-fold) less upon exposure to macrophages than the wild type strain. In a mouse infection model, the hup mutant strain displayed a greatly reduced ability to colonize host stomachs. The geometric means of colonization number for the wild type and hup mutant were 6 × 105 and 1.5 × 104 CFU/g stomachs, respectively. Complementation of the hup strain by chromosomal insertion of a functional hup gene restored oxidative stress resistance, DNA transformation frequency, and mouse colonization ability to the wild type level. We directly demonstrated that the purified His-tagged H. pylori Hup protein can protect (in vitro) an H. pylori-derived DNA fragment from oxidative damage.
PMCID: PMC3976563  PMID: 22776439
Helicobacter pylori; Histone-like protein; Oxidative stress; DNA protection; recombinational repair; Macrophage killing; Mouse colonization
23.  BRCA2 is epistatic to the RAD51 paralogs in response to DNA damage 
DNA repair  2013;12(4):306-311.
Homologous recombination plays an important role in the high-fidelity repair of DNA double-strand breaks. A central player in this process, RAD51, polymerizes onto single-stranded DNA and searches for homology in a duplex donor DNA molecule, usually the sister chromatid. Homologous recombination is a highly regulated event in mammalian cells: some proteins have direct enzymatic functions, others mediate or overcome rate-limiting steps in the process, and still others signal cell cycle arrest to allow repair to occur. While the human BRCA2 protein has a clear role in delivering and loading RAD51 onto single-stranded DNA generated after resection of the DNA break, the mechanistic functions of the RAD51 paralogs remain unclear. In this study, we sought to determine the genetic interactions between BRCA2 and the RAD51 paralogs during DNA DSB repair. We utilized siRNA-mediated knockdown of these proteins in human cells to assess their impact on the DNA damage response. The results indicate that loss of BRCA2 alone imparts a more severe phenotype than the loss of any individual RAD51 paralog and that BRCA2 is epistatic to each of the four paralogs tested.
PMCID: PMC3602134  PMID: 23384538
24.  5′ C-rich telomeric overhangs are an outcome of rapid telomere truncation events 
DNA repair  2013;12(3):238-245.
A subset of human tumors ensures indefinite telomere length maintenance by activating a telomerase-independent mechanism known as Alternative Lengthening of Telomeres (ALT). Most tumor cells of ALT origin share a constellation of unique characteristics, which include large stores of extra-chromosomal telomeric material, chronic telomere dysfunction and a peculiar enrichment in chromosome ends with 5′ C-rich overhangs. Here we demonstrate that acute telomere de-protection and the subsequent DNA damage signal are not sufficient to facilitate formation of 5′ C-overhangs at the chromosome end. Rather chromosome ends bearing 5′ C-overhangs are a by-product of rapid cleavage events, processing of which occurs independently of the DNA damage response and is partly mediated through the XRCC3 endonuclease.
PMCID: PMC3594334  PMID: 23347616
Telomeres; C-overhangs; T-loops
25.  Two distinct mechanisms of Topoisomerase 1-dependent mutagenesis in yeast 
DNA repair  2013;12(3):205-211.
Topoisomerase 1 (Top1) resolves transcription-associated supercoils by generating transient single-strand breaks in DNA. Top1 activity in yeast is a major source of transcription-associated mutagenesis, generating a distinctive mutation signature characterized by deletions in short, tandem repeats. A similar signature is associated with the persistence of ribonucleoside monophosphates (rNMPs) in DNA, and it also depends on Top1 activity. There is only partial overlap, however, between Top1-dependent deletion hotspots identified in highly transcribed DNA and those associated with rNMPs, suggesting the existence of both rNMP-dependent and rNMP-independent events. Here, we present genetic studies confirming that there are two distinct types of hotspots. Data suggest a novel model in which rNMP-dependent hotspots are generated by sequential Top1 reactions and are consistent with rNMP-independent hotspots reflecting processing of a trapped Top1 cleavage complex.
PMCID: PMC3594648  PMID: 23305949
Transcription-associated mutagenesis; topoisomerase 1; mutagenesis; ribonucleotide

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