Nucleic Acids Research

Nucleic Acids Research - RSS feed of current issue
  • DNA ligase III acts as a DNA strand break sensor in the cellular orchestration of DNA strand break repair
    [Jan 2015]

    In the current model of DNA SSBR, PARP1 is regarded as the sensor of single-strand breaks (SSBs). However, biochemical studies have implicated LIG3 as another possible SSB sensor. Using a laser micro-irradiation protocol that predominantly generates SSBs, we were able to demonstrate that PARP1 is dispensable for the accumulation of different single-strand break repair (SSBR) proteins at sites of DNA damage in live cells. Furthermore, we show in live cells for the first time that LIG3 plays a role in mediating the accumulation of the SSBR proteins XRCC1 and PNKP at sites of DNA damage. Importantly, the accumulation of LIG3 at sites of DNA damage did not require the BRCT domain-mediated interaction with XRCC1. We were able to show that the N-terminal ZnF domain of LIG3 plays a key role in the enzyme's SSB sensing function. Finally, we provide cellular evidence that LIG3 and not PARP1 acts as the sensor for DNA damage caused by the topoisomerase I inhibitor, irinotecan. Our results support the existence of a second damage-sensing mechanism in SSBR involving the detection of nicks in the genome by LIG3.

    Categories: Journal Articles
  • RECQL5 and BLM exhibit divergent functions in cells defective for the Fanconi anemia pathway
    [Jan 2015]

    Fanconi anemia (FA) patients exhibit bone marrow failure, developmental defects and cancer. The FA pathway maintains chromosomal stability in concert with replication fork maintenance and DNA double strand break (DSB) repair pathways including RAD51-mediated homologous recombination (HR). RAD51 is a recombinase that maintains replication forks and repairs DSBs, but also rearranges chromosomes. Two RecQ helicases, RECQL5 and Bloom syndrome mutated (BLM) suppress HR through nonredundant mechanisms. Here we test the impact deletion of RECQL5 and BLM has on mouse embryonic stem (ES) cells deleted for FANCB, a member of the FA core complex. We show that RECQL5, but not BLM, conferred resistance to mitomycin C (MMC, an interstrand crosslinker) and camptothecin (CPT, a type 1 topoisomerase inhibitor) in FANCB-defective cells. RECQL5 suppressed, while BLM caused, breaks and radials in FANCB-deleted cells exposed to CPT or MMC, respectively. RECQL5 protected the nascent replication strand from MRE11-mediated degradation and restarted stressed replication forks in a manner additive to FANCB. By contrast BLM restarted, but did not protect, replication forks in a manner epistatic to FANCB. RECQL5 also lowered RAD51 levels in FANCB-deleted cells at stressed replication sites implicating a rearrangement avoidance mechanism. Thus, RECQL5 and BLM impact FANCB-defective cells differently in response to replication stress with relevance to chemotherapeutic regimes.

    Categories: Journal Articles
  • The prion protein is critical for DNA repair and cell survival after genotoxic stress
    [Jan 2015]

    The prion protein (PrP) is highly conserved and ubiquitously expressed, suggesting that it plays an important physiological function. However, despite decades of investigation, this role remains elusive. Here, by using animal and cellular models, we unveil a key role of PrP in the DNA damage response. Exposure of neurons to a genotoxic stress activates PRNP transcription leading to an increased amount of PrP in the nucleus where it interacts with APE1, the major mammalian endonuclease essential for base excision repair, and stimulates its activity. Preventing the induction of PRNP results in accumulation of abasic sites in DNA and impairs cell survival after genotoxic treatment. Brains from Prnp–/– mice display a reduced APE1 activity and a defect in the repair of induced DNA damage in vivo. Thus, PrP is required to maintain genomic stability in response to genotoxic stresses.

    Categories: Journal Articles
  • The architecture of the 12RSS in V(D)J recombination signal and synaptic complexes
    [Jan 2015]

    V(D)J recombination is initiated by RAG1 and RAG2, which together with HMGB1 bind to a recombination signal sequence (12RSS or 23RSS) to form the signal complex (SC) and then capture a complementary partner RSS, yielding the paired complex (PC). Little is known regarding the structural changes that accompany the SC to PC transition or the structural features that allow RAG to distinguish its two asymmetric substrates. To address these issues, we analyzed the structure of the 12RSS in the SC and PC using fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET) and molecular dynamics modeling. The resulting models indicate that the 12RSS adopts a strongly bent V-shaped structure upon RAG/HMGB1 binding and reveal structural differences, particularly near the heptamer, between the 12RSS in the SC and PC. Comparison of models of the 12RSS and 23RSS in the PC reveals broadly similar shapes but a distinct number and location of DNA bends as well as a smaller central cavity for the 12RSS. These findings provide the most detailed view yet of the 12RSS in RAG–DNA complexes and highlight structural features of the RSS that might underlie activation of RAG-mediated cleavage and substrate asymmetry important for the 12/23 rule of V(D)J recombination.

    Categories: Journal Articles
  • Switching between polymerase and exonuclease sites in DNA polymerase {varepsilon}
    [Jan 2015]

    The balance between exonuclease and polymerase activities promotes DNA synthesis over degradation when nucleotides are correctly added to the new strand by replicative B-family polymerases. Misincorporations shift the balance toward the exonuclease site, and the balance tips back in favor of DNA synthesis when the incorrect nucleotides have been removed. Most B-family DNA polymerases have an extended β-hairpin loop that appears to be important for switching from the exonuclease site to the polymerase site, a process that affects fidelity of the DNA polymerase. Here, we show that DNA polymerase can switch between the polymerase site and exonuclease site in a processive manner despite the absence of an extended β-hairpin loop. K967 and R988 are two conserved amino acids in the palm and thumb domain that interact with bases on the primer strand in the minor groove at positions n–2 and n–4/n–5, respectively. DNA polymerase depends on both K967 and R988 to stabilize the 3'-terminus of the DNA within the polymerase site and on R988 to processively switch between the exonuclease and polymerase sites. Based on a structural alignment with DNA polymerase , we propose that arginines corresponding to R988 might have a similar function in other B-family polymerases.

    Categories: Journal Articles
  • DNA polymerase {beta} deficiency leads to neurodegeneration and exacerbates Alzheimer disease phenotypes
    [Jan 2015]

    We explore the role of DNA damage processing in the progression of cognitive decline by creating a new mouse model. The new model is a cross of a common Alzheimer's disease (AD) mouse (3xTgAD), with a mouse that is heterozygous for the critical DNA base excision repair enzyme, DNA polymerase β. A reduction of this enzyme causes neurodegeneration and aggravates the AD features of the 3xTgAD mouse, inducing neuronal dysfunction, cell death and impairing memory and synaptic plasticity. Transcriptional profiling revealed remarkable similarities in gene expression alterations in brain tissue of human AD patients and 3xTg/Polβ+/– mice including abnormalities suggestive of impaired cellular bioenergetics. Our findings demonstrate that a modest decrement in base excision repair capacity can render the brain more vulnerable to AD-related molecular and cellular alterations.

    Categories: Journal Articles
  • Bcl2 inhibits recruitment of Mre11 complex to DNA double-strand breaks in response to high-linear energy transfer radiation
    [Jan 2015]

    High-linear energy transfer ionizing radiation, derived from high charge (Z) and energy (E) (HZE) particles, induces clustered/complex DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs) that include small DNA fragments, which are not repaired by the non-homologous end-joining (NHEJ) pathway. The homologous recombination (HR) DNA repair pathway plays a major role in repairing DSBs induced by HZE particles. The Mre11 complex (Mre11/Rad50/NBS1)-mediated resection of DSB ends is a required step in preparing for DSB repair via the HR DNA repair pathway. Here we found that expression of Bcl2 results in decreased HR activity and retards the repair of DSBs induced by HZE particles (i.e. 56iron and 28silicon) by inhibiting Mre11 complex activity. Exposure of cells to 56iron or 28silicon promotes Bcl2 to interact with Mre11 via the BH1 and BH4 domains. Purified Bcl2 protein directly suppresses Mre11 complex-mediated DNA resection in vitro. Expression of Bcl2 reduces the ability of Mre11 to bind DNA following exposure of cells to HZE particles. Our findings suggest that, after cellular exposure to HZE particles, Bcl2 may inhibit Mre11 complex-mediated DNA resection leading to suppression of the HR-mediated DSB repair in surviving cells, which may potentially contribute to tumor development.

    Categories: Journal Articles
  • Loop L1 governs the DNA-binding specificity and order for RecA-catalyzed reactions in homologous recombination and DNA repair
    [Jan 2015]

    In all organisms, RecA-family recombinases catalyze homologous joint formation in homologous genetic recombination, which is essential for genome stability and diversification. In homologous joint formation, ATP-bound RecA/Rad51-recombinases first bind single-stranded DNA at its primary site and then interact with double-stranded DNA at another site. The underlying reason and the regulatory mechanism for this conserved binding order remain unknown. A comparison of the loop L1 structures in a DNA-free RecA crystal that we originally determined and in the reported DNA-bound active RecA crystals suggested that the aspartate at position 161 in loop L1 in DNA-free RecA prevented double-stranded, but not single-stranded, DNA-binding to the primary site. This was confirmed by the effects of the Ala-replacement of Asp-161 (D161A), analyzed directly by gel-mobility shift assays and indirectly by DNA-dependent ATPase activity and SOS repressor cleavage. When RecA/Rad51-recombinases interact with double-stranded DNA before single-stranded DNA, homologous joint-formation is suppressed, likely by forming a dead-end product. We found that the D161A-replacement reduced this suppression, probably by allowing double-stranded DNA to bind preferentially and reversibly to the primary site. Thus, Asp-161 in the flexible loop L1 of wild-type RecA determines the preference for single-stranded DNA-binding to the primary site and regulates the DNA-binding order in RecA-catalyzed recombinase reactions.

    Categories: Journal Articles
  • Neddylation inhibits CtIP-mediated resection and regulates DNA double strand break repair pathway choice
    [Jan 2015]

    DNA double strand breaks are the most cytotoxic lesions that can occur on the DNA. They can be repaired by different mechanisms and optimal survival requires a tight control between them. Here we uncover protein deneddylation as a major controller of repair pathway choice. Neddylation inhibition changes the normal repair profile toward an increase on homologous recombination. Indeed, RNF111/UBE2M-mediated neddylation acts as an inhibitor of BRCA1 and CtIP-mediated DNA end resection, a key process in repair pathway choice. By controlling the length of ssDNA produced during DNA resection, protein neddylation not only affects the choice between NHEJ and homologous recombination but also controls the balance between different recombination subpathways. Thus, protein neddylation status has a great impact in the way cells respond to DNA breaks.

    Categories: Journal Articles
  • REV7 is essential for DNA damage tolerance via two REV3L binding sites in mammalian DNA polymerase {zeta}
    [Jan 2015]

    DNA polymerase zeta (pol ) is exceptionally important for controlling mutagenesis and genetic instability. REV3L comprises the catalytic subunit, while REV7 (MAD2L2) is considered an accessory subunit. However, it has not been established that the role of REV7 in DNA damage tolerance is necessarily connected with mammalian pol , and there is accumulating evidence that REV7 and REV3L have independent functions. Analysis of pol has been hampered by difficulties in expression of REV3L in mammalian cells, and lack of a functional complementation system. Here, we report that REV7 interacts with full-length REV3L in vivo and we identify a new conserved REV7 interaction site in human REV3L (residues 1993–2003), distinct from the known binding site (residues 1877–1887). Mutation of both REV7-binding sites eliminates the REV3L–REV7 interaction. In vivo complementation shows that both REV7-binding sites in REV3L are necessary for preventing spontaneous chromosome breaks and conferring resistance to UV radiation and cisplatin. This demonstrates a damage-specific function of REV7 in pol , in contrast to the distinct roles of REV3L and REV7 in primary cell viability and embryogenesis.

    Categories: Journal Articles
  • Transcriptional inhibition and mutagenesis induced by N-nitroso compound-derived carboxymethylated thymidine adducts in DNA
    [Jan 2015]

    N-nitroso compounds represent a common type of environmental and endogenous DNA-damaging agents. After metabolic activation, many N-nitroso compounds are converted into a diazoacetate intermediate that can react with nucleobases to give carboxymethylated DNA adducts such as N3-carboxymethylthymidine (N3-CMdT) and O4-carboxymethylthymidine (O4-CMdT). In this study, we constructed non-replicative plasmids carrying a single N3-CMdT or O4-CMdT, site-specifically positioned in the transcribed strand, to investigate how these lesions compromise the flow of genetic information during transcription. Our results revealed that both N3-CMdT and O4-CMdT substantially inhibited DNA transcription mediated by T7 RNA polymerase or human RNA polymerase II in vitro and in human cells. In addition, we found that N3-CMdT and O4-CMdT were miscoding lesions and predominantly directed the misinsertion of uridine and guanosine, respectively. Our results also suggested that these carboxymethylated thymidine lesions may constitute efficient substrates for transcription-coupled nucleotide excision repair in human cells. These findings provided important new insights into the biological consequences of the carboxymethylated DNA lesions in living cells.

    Categories: Journal Articles
  • Modified ribosome profiling reveals high abundance of ribosome protected mRNA fragments derived from 3' untranslated regions
    [Jan 2015]

    Ribosome profiling identifies ribosome positions on translated mRNAs. A prominent feature of published datasets is the near complete absence of ribosomes in 3' untranslated regions (3'UTR) although substantial ribosome density can be observed on non-coding RNAs. Here we perform ribosome profiling in cultured Drosophila and human cells and show that different features of translation are revealed depending on the nuclease and the digestion conditions used. Most importantly, we observe high abundance of ribosome protected fragments in 3'UTRs of thousands of genes without manipulation of translation termination. Affinity purification of ribosomes indicates that the 3'UTR reads originate from ribosome protected fragments. Association of ribosomes with the 3'UTR may be due to ribosome migration through the stop codon or 3'UTR mRNA binding to ribosomes on the coding sequence. This association depends primarily on the relative length of the 3'UTR and may be related to translational regulation or ribosome recycling, for which the efficiency is known to inversely correlate with 3'UTR length. Together our results indicate that ribosome profiling is highly dependent on digestion conditions and that ribosomes commonly associate with the 3'UTR, which may have a role in translational regulation.

    Categories: Journal Articles
  • A naturally occurring 4-bp deletion in the intron 4 of p53 creates a spectrum of novel p53 isoforms with anti-apoptosis function
    [Jan 2015]

    p53 functions as a tumor suppressor by transcriptionally regulating the expression of genes involved in controlling cell proliferation or apoptosis. p53 and its isoform 133p53/113p53 form a negative regulation loop in that p53 activates the expression of 133p53/113p53 while 133p53/113p53 specifically antagonizes p53 apoptotic activity. This pathway is especially important to safeguard the process of embryogenesis because sudden activation of p53 by DNA damage signals or developmental stress is detrimental to a developing embryo. Here we report the identification of five novel p53 isoforms. p53β is generated due to alternative splicing of the intron 8 of p53 while the other four, namely, TA2p53, TA3p53, TA4p53 and TA5p53, result from the combination of alternative splicing of intron 1 (within intron 4 of the p53 gene) of the 113p53 gene and a naturally occurring CATT 4 bp deletion within the alternative splicing product in zebrafish. The CATT 4 bp deletion creates four translation start codons which are in-frame to the open reading frame of 113p53. We also show that TAp53 shares the same promoter with 113p53 and functions to antagonize p53 apoptotic activity. The identification of 113p53/TA2/3/4/5p53 reveals a pro-survival mechanism which operates robustly during embryogenesis in response to the DNA-damage condition.

    Categories: Journal Articles
  • Transcriptional regulator-mediated activation of adaptation genes triggers CRISPR de novo spacer acquisition
    [Jan 2015]

    Acquisition of de novo spacer sequences confers CRISPR-Cas with a memory to defend against invading genetic elements. However, the mechanism of regulation of CRISPR spacer acquisition remains unknown. Here we examine the transcriptional regulation of the conserved spacer acquisition genes in Type I-A of Sulfolobus islandicus REY15A. Csa3a, a MarR-like transcription factor encoded by the gene located adjacent to csa1, cas1, cas2 and cas4 cluster, but on the reverse strand, was demonstrated to specifically bind to the csa1 and cas1 promoters with the imperfect palindromic sequence. Importantly, it was demonstrated that the transcription level of csa1, cas1, cas2 and cas4 was significantly enhanced in a csa3a-overexpression strain and, moreover, the Csa1 and Cas1 protein levels were increased in this strain. Furthermore, we demonstrated the hyperactive uptake of unique spacers within both CRISPR loci in the presence of the csa3a overexpression vector. The spacer acquisition process is dependent on the CCN PAM sequence and protospacer selection is random and non-directional. These results suggested a regulation mechanism of CRISPR spacer acquisition where a single transcriptional regulator senses the presence of an invading element and then activates spacer acquisition gene expression which leads to de novo spacer uptake from the invading element.

    Categories: Journal Articles
  • Human PrimPol is a highly error-prone polymerase regulated by single-stranded DNA binding proteins
    [Jan 2015]

    PrimPol is a recently identified polymerase involved in eukaryotic DNA damage tolerance, employed in both re-priming and translesion synthesis mechanisms to bypass nuclear and mitochondrial DNA lesions. In this report, we investigate how the enzymatic activities of human PrimPol are regulated. We show that, unlike other TLS polymerases, PrimPol is not stimulated by PCNA and does not interact with it in vivo. We identify that PrimPol interacts with both of the major single-strand binding proteins, RPA and mtSSB in vivo. Using NMR spectroscopy, we characterize the domains responsible for the PrimPol-RPA interaction, revealing that PrimPol binds directly to the N-terminal domain of RPA70. In contrast to the established role of SSBs in stimulating replicative polymerases, we find that SSBs significantly limit the primase and polymerase activities of PrimPol. To identify the requirement for this regulation, we employed two forward mutation assays to characterize PrimPol's replication fidelity. We find that PrimPol is a mutagenic polymerase, with a unique error specificity that is highly biased towards insertion-deletion errors. Given the error-prone disposition of PrimPol, we propose a mechanism whereby SSBs greatly restrict the contribution of this enzyme to DNA replication at stalled forks, thus reducing the mutagenic potential of PrimPol during genome replication.

    Categories: Journal Articles
  • RNA helicase A activity is inhibited by oncogenic transcription factor EWS-FLI1
    [Jan 2015]

    RNA helicases impact RNA structure and metabolism from transcription through translation, in part through protein interactions with transcription factors. However, there is limited knowledge on the role of transcription factor influence upon helicase activity. RNA helicase A (RHA) is a DExH-box RNA helicase that plays multiple roles in cellular biology, some functions requiring its activity as a helicase while others as a protein scaffold. The oncogenic transcription factor EWS-FLI1 requires RHA to enable Ewing sarcoma (ES) oncogenesis and growth; a small molecule, YK-4-279 disrupts this complex in cells. Our current study investigates the effect of EWS-FLI1 upon RHA helicase activity. We found that EWS-FLI1 reduces RHA helicase activity in a dose-dependent manner without affecting intrinsic ATPase activity; however, the RHA kinetics indicated a complex model. Using separated enantiomers, only (S)-YK-4-279 reverses the EWS-FLI1 inhibition of RHA helicase activity. We report a novel RNA binding property of EWS-FLI1 leading us to discover that YK-4-279 inhibition of RHA binding to EWS-FLI1 altered the RNA binding profile of both proteins. We conclude that EWS-FLI1 modulates RHA helicase activity causing changes in overall transcriptome processing. These findings could lead to both enhanced understanding of oncogenesis and provide targets for therapy.

    Categories: Journal Articles
  • A structural determinant in the uracil DNA glycosylase superfamily for the removal of uracil from adenine/uracil base pairs
    [Jan 2015]

    The uracil DNA glycosylase superfamily consists of several distinct families. Family 2 mismatch-specific uracil DNA glycosylase (MUG) from Escherichia coli is known to exhibit glycosylase activity on three mismatched base pairs, T/U, G/U and C/U. Family 1 uracil N-glycosylase (UNG) from E. coli is an extremely efficient enzyme that can remove uracil from any uracil-containing base pairs including the A/U base pair. Here, we report the identification of an important structural determinant that underlies the functional difference between MUG and UNG. Substitution of a Lys residue at position 68 with Asn in MUG not only accelerates the removal of uracil from mismatched base pairs but also enables the enzyme to gain catalytic activity on A/U base pairs. Binding and kinetic analysis demonstrate that the MUG-K68N substitution results in enhanced ground state binding and transition state interactions. Molecular modeling reveals that MUG-K68N, UNG-N123 and family 5 Thermus thermophiles UDGb-A111N can form bidentate hydrogen bonds with the N3 and O4 moieties of the uracil base. Genetic analysis indicates the gain of function for A/U base pairs allows the MUG-K68N mutant to remove uracil incorporated into the genome during DNA replication. The implications of this study in the origin of life are discussed.

    Categories: Journal Articles
  • Mechanism of RecQ helicase mechanoenzymatic coupling reveals that the DNA interactions of the ADP-bound enzyme control translocation run terminations
    [Jan 2015]

    The processing of various DNA structures by RecQ helicases is crucial for genome maintenance in both bacteria and eukaryotes. RecQ helicases perform active destabilization of DNA duplexes, based on tight coupling of their ATPase activity to moderately processive translocation along DNA strands. Here, we determined the ATPase kinetic mechanism of E. coli RecQ helicase to reveal how mechanoenzymatic coupling is achieved. We found that the interaction of RecQ with DNA results in a drastic acceleration of the rate-limiting ATP cleavage step, which occurs productively due to subsequent rapid phosphate release. ADP release is not rate-limiting and ADP-bound RecQ molecules make up a small fraction during single-stranded DNA translocation. However, the relatively rapid release of the ADP-bound enzyme from DNA causes the majority of translocation run terminations (i.e. detachment from the DNA track). Thus, the DNA interactions of ADP-bound RecQ helicase, probably dependent on DNA structure, will mainly determine translocation processivity and may control the outcome of DNA processing. Comparison with human Bloom's syndrome (BLM) helicase reveals that similar macroscopic parameters are achieved by markedly different underlying mechanisms of RecQ homologs, suggesting diversity in enzymatic tuning.

    Categories: Journal Articles
  • Tumor-associated mutations in a conserved structural motif alter physical and biochemical properties of human RAD51 recombinase
    [Jan 2015]

    Human RAD51 protein catalyzes DNA pairing and strand exchange reactions that are central to homologous recombination and homology-directed DNA repair. Successful recombination/repair requires the formation of a presynaptic filament of RAD51 on ssDNA. Mutations in BRCA2 and other proteins that control RAD51 activity are associated with human cancer. Here we describe a set of mutations associated with human breast tumors that occur in a common structural motif of RAD51. Tumor-associated D149N, R150Q and G151D mutations map to a Schellman loop motif located on the surface of the RecA homology domain of RAD51. All three variants are proficient in DNA strand exchange, but G151D is slightly more sensitive to salt than wild-type (WT). Both G151D and R150Q exhibit markedly lower catalytic efficiency for adenosine triphosphate hydrolysis compared to WT. All three mutations alter the physical properties of RAD51 nucleoprotein filaments, with G151D showing the most dramatic changes. G151D forms mixed nucleoprotein filaments with WT RAD51 that have intermediate properties compared to unmixed filaments. These findings raise the possibility that mutations in RAD51 itself may contribute to genome instability in tumor cells, either directly through changes in recombinase properties, or indirectly through changes in interactions with regulatory proteins.

    Categories: Journal Articles
  • Creating a monomeric endonuclease TALE-I-SceI with high specificity and low genotoxicity in human cells
    [Jan 2015]

    To correct a DNA mutation in the human genome for gene therapy, homology-directed repair (HDR) needs to be specific and have the lowest off-target effects to protect the human genome from deleterious mutations. Zinc finger nucleases, transcription activator-like effector nuclease (TALEN) and CRISPR-CAS9 systems have been engineered and used extensively to recognize and modify specific DNA sequences. Although TALEN and CRISPR/CAS9 could induce high levels of HDR in human cells, their genotoxicity was significantly higher. Here, we report the creation of a monomeric endonuclease that can recognize at least 33 bp by fusing the DNA-recognizing domain of TALEN (TALE) to a re-engineered homing endonuclease I-SceI. After sequentially re-engineering I-SceI to recognize 18 bp of the human β-globin sequence, the re-engineered I-SceI induced HDR in human cells. When the re-engineered I-SceI was fused to TALE (TALE-ISVB2), the chimeric endonuclease induced the same HDR rate at the human β-globin gene locus as that induced by TALEN, but significantly reduced genotoxicity. We further demonstrated that TALE-ISVB2 specifically targeted at the β-globin sequence in human hematopoietic stem cells. Therefore, this monomeric endonuclease has the potential to be used in therapeutic gene targeting in human cells.

    Categories: Journal Articles