316,533 research outputs found

    Replication stress and chromatin context link ATM activation to a role in DNA replication

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    ATM-mediated signaling in response to DNA damage is a barrier to tumorigenesis. Here we asked whether replication stress could also contribute to ATM signaling. We demonstrate that, in the absence of DNA damage, ATM responds to replication stress in a hypoxia-induced heterochromatin-like context. In certain hypoxic conditions, replication stress occurs in the absence of detectable DNA damage. Hypoxia also induces H3K9me3, a histone modification associated with gene repression and heterochromatin. Hypoxia-induced replication stress together with increased H3K9me3 leads to ATM activation. Importantly, ATM prevents the accumulation of DNA damage in hypoxia. Most significantly, we describe a stress-specific role for ATM in maintaining DNA replication rates in a background of increased H3K9me3. Furthermore, the ATM-mediated response to oncogene-induced replication stress is enhanced in hypoxic conditions. Together, these data indicate that hypoxia plays a critical role in the activation of the DNA damage response, therefore contributing to this barrier to tumorigenesis

    Dicer prevents genome instability in response to replication stress

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    Dicer, an endoribonuclease best-known for its role in microRNA biogenesis and RNA interference pathway, has been shown to play a role in the DNA damage response and repair of double-stranded DNA breaks (DSBs) in mammalian cells. However, it remains unknown whether Dicer is also important to preserve genome integrity upon replication stress. To address this question, we focused our study on common fragile sites (CFSs), which are susceptible to breakage after replication stress. We show that inhibition of the Dicer pathway leads to an increase in CFS expression upon induction of replication stress and to an accumulation of 53BP1 nuclear bodies, indicating transmission of replication-associated damage. We also show that in absence of a functional Dicer or Drosha, the assembly into nuclear foci of the Fanconi anemia (FA) protein FANCD2 and of the replication and checkpoint factor TopBP1 in response to replication stress is impaired, and the activation of the S-phase checkpoint is defective. Based on these results, we propose that Dicer pre-vents genomic instability after replication stress, by allowing the proper recruitment to stalled forks of proteins that are necessary to maintain replication fork stability and activate the S-phase checkpoint, thus limiting cells from proceeding into mitosis with under-replicated DNA

    DNA replication stress restricts ribosomal DNA copy number

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    Ribosomal RNAs (rRNAs) in budding yeast are encoded by ~100‚Äď200 repeats of a 9.1kb sequence arranged in tandem on chromosome XII, the ribosomal DNA (rDNA) locus. Copy number of rDNA repeat units in eukaryotic cells is maintained far in excess of the requirement for ribosome biogenesis. Despite the importance of the repeats for both ribosomal and non-ribosomal functions, it is currently not known how ‚Äúnormal‚ÄĚ copy number is determined or maintained. To identify essential genes involved in the maintenance of rDNA copy number, we developed a droplet digital PCR based assay to measure rDNA copy number in yeast and used it to screen a yeast conditional temperature-sensitive mutant collection of essential genes. Our screen revealed that low rDNA copy number is associated with compromised DNA replication. Further, subculturing yeast under two separate conditions of DNA replication stress selected for a contraction of the rDNA array independent of the replication fork blocking protein, Fob1. Interestingly, cells with a contracted array grew better than their counterparts with normal copy number under conditions of DNA replication stress. Our data indicate that DNA replication stresses select for a smaller rDNA array. We speculate that this liberates scarce replication factors for use by the rest of the genome, which in turn helps cells complete DNA replication and continue to propagate. Interestingly, tumors from mini chromosome maintenance 2 (MCM2)-deficient mice also show a loss of rDNA repeats. Our data suggest that a reduction in rDNA copy number may indicate a history of DNA replication stress, and that rDNA array size could serve as a diagnostic marker for replication stress. Taken together, these data begin to suggest the selective pressures that combine to yield a ‚Äúnormal‚ÄĚ rDNA copy number

    Chk1 inhibits replication factory activation but allows dormant origin firing in existing factories

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    Replication origins are licensed by loading MCM2-7 hexamers before entry into S phase. However, only ‚ąľ10% of licensed origins are normally used in S phase, with the others remaining dormant. When fork progression is inhibited, dormant origins initiate nearby to ensure that all of the DNA is eventually replicated. In apparent contrast, replicative stress activates ataxia telangiectasia and rad-3‚Äďrelated (ATR) and Chk1 checkpoint kinases that inhibit origin firing. In this study, we show that at low levels of replication stress, ATR/Chk1 predominantly suppresses origin initiation by inhibiting the activation of new replication factories, thereby reducing the number of active factories. At the same time, inhibition of replication fork progression allows dormant origins to initiate within existing replication factories. The inhibition of new factory activation by ATR/Chk1 therefore redirects replication toward active factories where forks are inhibited and away from regions that have yet to start replication. This minimizes the deleterious consequences of fork stalling and prevents similar problems from arising in unreplicated regions of the genome

    RASSF1A‚ÄďLATS1 signalling stabilizes replication forks by restricting CDK2-mediated phosphorylation of¬†BRCA2

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    Genomic instability is a key hallmark of cancer leading to tumour heterogeneity and therapeutic resistance. ‚ÄčBRCA2 has a fundamental role in error-free DNA repair but also sustains genome integrity by promoting ‚ÄčRAD51 nucleofilament formation at stalled replication forks. ‚ÄčCDK2 phosphorylates ‚ÄčBRCA2 (pS3291-‚ÄčBRCA2) to limit stabilizing contacts with polymerized ‚ÄčRAD51; however, how replication stress modulates ‚ÄčCDK2 activity and whether loss of pS3291-‚ÄčBRCA2 regulation results in genomic instability of tumours are not known. Here we demonstrate that the Hippo pathway kinase ‚ÄčLATS1 interacts with ‚ÄčCDK2 in response to genotoxic stress to constrain pS3291-‚ÄčBRCA2 and support ‚ÄčRAD51 nucleofilaments, thereby maintaining genomic fidelity during replication stalling. We also show that ‚ÄčLATS1 forms part of an ‚ÄčATR-mediated response to replication stress that requires the tumour suppressor ‚ÄčRASSF1A. Importantly, perturbation of the ‚ÄčATR‚Äď‚ÄčRASSF1A‚Äď‚ÄčLATS1 signalling axis leads to genomic defects associated with loss of ‚ÄčBRCA2 function and contributes to genomic instability and ‚ÄėBRCA-ness‚Äô in lung cancers

    Transcription-mediated replication hindrance: a major driver of genome instability

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    Genome replication involves dealing with obstacles that can result from DNA damage but also from chromatin alterations, topological stress, tightly bound proteins or non-B DNA structures such as R loops. Experimental evidence reveals that an engaged transcription machinery at the DNA can either enhance such obstacles or be an obstacle itself. Thus, transcription can become a potentially hazardous process promoting localized replication fork hindrance and stress, which would ultimately cause genome instability, a hallmark of cancer cells. Understanding the causes behind transcription‚Äďreplication conflicts as well as how the cell resolves them to sustain genome integrity is the aim of this review

    MRE11 inhibition highlights a replication stress-dependent vulnerability of MYCN-driven tumors

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    MRE11 is a component of the MRE11/RAD50/NBS1 (MRN) complex, whose activity is essential to control faithful DNA replication and to prevent accumulation of deleterious DNA double-strand breaks. In humans, hypomorphic mutations in these genes lead to DNA damage response (DDR)-defective and cancer-prone syndromes. Moreover, MRN complex dysfunction dramatically affects the nervous system, where MRE11 is required to restrain MYCN-dependent replication stress, during the rapid expansion of progenitor cells. MYCN activation, often due to genetic amplification, represents the driving oncogenic event for a number of human tumors, conferring bad prognosis and predicting very poor responses even to the most aggressive therapeutic protocols. This is prototypically exemplified by neuroblastoma, where MYCN amplification occurs in about 25% of the cases. Intriguingly, MRE11 is highly expressed and predicts bad prognosis in MYCN-amplified neuroblastoma. Due to the lack of direct means to target MYCN, we explored the possibility to trigger intolerable levels of replication stress-dependent DNA damage, by inhibiting MRE11 in MYCN-amplified preclinical models. Indeed, either MRE11 knockdown or its pharmacological inhibitor mirin induce accumulation of replication stress and DNA damage biomarkers in MYCN-amplified cells. The consequent DDR recruits p53 and promotes a p53-dependent cell death, as indicated by p53 loss- and gain-of-function experiments. Encapsulation of mirin in nanoparticles allowed its use on MYCN-amplified neuroblastoma xenografts in vivo, which resulted in a sharp impairment of tumor growth, associated with DDR activation, p53 accumulation, and cell death. Therefore, we propose that MRE11 inhibition might be an effective strategy to treat MYCN-amplified and p53 wild-type neuroblastoma, and suggest that targeting replication stress with appropriate tools should be further exploited to tackle MYCN-driven tumors

    The Swr1 chromatin-remodeling complex prevents genome instability induced by replication fork progression defects.

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    Genome instability is associated with tumorigenesis. Here, we identify a role for the histone Htz1, which is deposited by the Swr1 chromatin-remodeling complex (SWR-C), in preventing genome instability in the absence of the replication fork/replication checkpoint proteins Mrc1, Csm3, or Tof1. When combined with deletion of SWR1 or HTZ1, deletion of MRC1, CSM3, or TOF1 or a replication-defective mrc1 mutation causes synergistic increases in gross chromosomal rearrangement (GCR) rates, accumulation of a broad spectrum of GCRs, and hypersensitivity to replication stress. The double mutants have severe replication defects and accumulate aberrant replication intermediates. None of the individual mutations cause large increases in GCR rates; however, defects in MRC1, CSM3 or TOF1 cause activation of the DNA damage checkpoint and replication defects. We propose a model in which Htz1 deposition and retention in chromatin prevents transiently stalled replication forks that occur in mrc1, tof1, or csm3 mutants from being converted to DNA double-strand breaks that trigger genome instability

    The Arabidopsis thaliana checkpoint kinase WEE1 protects against premature vascular differentiation during replication stress

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    A sessile lifestyle forces plants to respond promptly to factors that affect their genomic integrity. Therefore, plants have developed checkpoint mechanisms to arrest cell cycle progression upon the occurrence of DNA stress, allowing the DNA to be repaired before onset of division. Previously, the WEE1 kinase had been demonstrated to be essential for delaying progression through the cell cycle in the presence of replication-inhibitory drugs, such as hydroxyurea. To understand the severe growth arrest of WEE1-deficient plants treated with hydroxyurea, a transcriptomics analysis was performed, indicating prolonged S-phase duration. A role for WEE1 during S phase was substantiated by its specific accumulation in replicating nuclei that suffered from DNA stress. Besides an extended replication phase, WEE1 knockout plants accumulated dead cells that were associated with premature vascular differentiation. Correspondingly, plants without functional WEE1 ectopically expressed the vascular differentiation marker VND7, and their vascular development was aberrant. We conclude that the growth arrest of WEE1-deficient plants is due to an extended cell cycle duration in combination with a premature onset of vascular cell differentiation. The latter implies that the plant WEE1 kinase acquired an indirect developmental function that is important for meristem maintenance upon replication stress
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