DNA-protein crosslinks (DPCs) are a frequent form of DNA lesion and are strongly inhibitive in diverse DNA transactions. Despite recent developments, the biochemical detection of DPCs remains a limiting factor for the in-depth mechanistic understanding of DPC repair. Here, we develop a sensitive and versatile assay, designated ARK, for the quantitative analysis of DPCs in cells. ARK uses sequential chaotropic and detergent-based isolation of DPCs and substantially enhances sample purity, resulting in a 5-fold increase in detection sensitivity and a 10-fold reduction in background reading. We validate the ARK assay with genetic mutants with established deficiencies in DPC repair and demonstrate its robustness by using common DPC-inducing reagents, including formaldehyde, camptothecin, and etoposide. In addition, we show that the Fanconi anemia pathway contributes to the repair of DPCs. Thus, ARK is expected to facilitate various studies aimed at understanding both fundamental biology and translational applications of DNA-protein crosslink repair.
Meiotic recombination is initiated by SPO11-induced double-strand breaks (DSBs). In most mammals, the methyltransferase PRDM9 guides SPO11 targeting, and the ATM kinase controls meiotic DSB numbers. Following MRE11 nuclease removal of SPO11, the DSB is resected and loaded with DMC1 filaments for homolog invasion. Here, we demonstrate the direct detection of meiotic DSBs and resection using END-seq on mouse spermatocytes with low sample input. We find that DMC1 limits both minimum and maximum resection lengths, whereas 53BP1, BRCA1 and EXO1 play surprisingly minimal roles. Through enzymatic modifications to END-seq, we identify a SPO11-bound meiotic recombination intermediate (SPO11-RI) present at all hotspots. We propose that SPO11-RI forms because chromatin-bound PRDM9 asymmetrically blocks MRE11 from releasing SPO11. In Atm spermatocytes, trapped SPO11 cleavage complexes accumulate due to defective MRE11 initiation of resection. Thus, in addition to governing SPO11 breakage, ATM and PRDM9 are critical local regulators of mammalian SPO11 processing.
The Ataxia-telangiectasia mutated (ATM) kinase responds to DNA double-strand breaks and other forms of cellular stress, including reactive oxygen species (ROS). Recent work in the field has uncovered links between mitochondrial ROS and ATM activation, suggesting that ATM acts as a sensor for mitochondrial derived ROS and regulates ROS accumulation in cells through this pathway. In addition, characterization of cells from Ataxia-telangiectasia patients as well as ATM-deficient mice and cell models suggest a role for ATM in modulating mitochondrial gene expression and function. Here we review ROS responses related to ATM function, recent evidence for ATM roles in mitochondrial maintenance and turnover, and the relationship between ATM and regulation of protein homeostasis.
The 70 kDa heat shock protein (HSP70) family of chaperones are the front line of protection from stress-induced misfolding and aggregation of polypeptides in most organisms and are responsible for promoting the stability, folding, and degradation of clients to maintain cellular protein homeostasis. Here, we demonstrate quantitative identification of HSP70 and 71 kDa heat shock cognate (HSC70) clients using a ubiquitin-mediated proximity tagging strategy and show that, despite their high degree of similarity, these enzymes have largely nonoverlapping specificities. Both proteins show a preference for association with newly synthesized polypeptides, but each responds differently to changes in the stoichiometry of proteins in obligate multi-subunit complexes. In addition, expression of an amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)-associated superoxide dismutase 1 (SOD1) mutant protein induces changes in HSP70 and HSC70 client association and aggregation toward polypeptides with predicted disorder, indicating that there are global effects from a single misfolded protein that extend to many clients within chaperone networks. Together these findings show that the ubiquitin-activated interaction trap (UBAIT) fusion system can efficiently isolate the complex interactome of HSP chaperone family proteins under normal and stress conditions.
The repair of DNA double-strand breaks occurs through nonhomologous end joining or homologous recombination in vertebrate cells-a choice that is thought to be decided by a competition between DNA-dependent protein kinase (DNA-PK) and the Mre11/Rad50/Nbs1 (MRN) complex but is not well understood. Using ensemble biochemistry and single-molecule approaches, here, we show that the MRN complex is dependent on DNA-PK and phosphorylated CtIP to perform efficient processing and resection of DNA ends in physiological conditions, thus eliminating the competition model. Endonucleolytic removal of DNA-PK-bound DNA ends is also observed at double-strand break sites in human cells. The involvement of DNA-PK in MRN-mediated end processing promotes an efficient and sequential transition from nonhomologous end joining to homologous recombination by facilitating DNA-PK removal.
Maintenance of protein homeostasis in eukaryotes under normal growth and stress conditions requires the functions of Hsp70 chaperones and associated cochaperones. Here, we investigate an evolutionarily conserved serine phosphorylation that occurs at the site of communication between the nucleotide-binding and substrate-binding domains of Hsp70. Ser151 phosphorylation in yeast Hsp70 (Ssa1) is promoted by cyclin-dependent kinase (Cdk1) during normal growth. Phosphomimetic substitutions at this site (S151D) dramatically downregulate heat shock responses, a result conserved with HSC70 S153 in human cells. Phosphomimetic forms of Ssa1 also fail to relocalize in response to starvation conditions, do not associate with Hsp40 cochaperones Ydj1 and Sis1, and do not catalyze refolding of denatured proteins in cooperation with Ydj1 and Hsp104. Despite these negative effects on HSC70/HSP70 function, the S151D phosphomimetic allele promotes survival of heavy metal exposure and suppresses the Sup35-dependent [ ] prion phenotype, consistent with proposed roles for Ssa1 and Hsp104 in generating self-nucleating seeds of misfolded proteins. Taken together, these results suggest that Cdk1 can downregulate Hsp70 function through phosphorylation of this site, with potential costs to overall chaperone efficiency but also advantages with respect to reduction of metal-induced and prion-dependent protein aggregate production.