RNA metabolism is altered following DNA damage, but the underlying mechanisms are not well understood. Through a 14-3-3 interaction screen for DNA damage-induced protein interactions in human cells, we identified protein complexes connected to RNA biology. These include the nuclear exosome targeting (NEXT) complex that regulates turnover of noncoding RNAs termed promoter upstream transcripts (PROMPTs). We show that the NEXT subunit RBM7 is phosphorylated upon DNA damage by the MAPKAPK2 kinase and establish that this mediates 14-3-3 binding and decreases PROMPT binding. These findings and our observation that cells lacking RBM7 display DNA damage hypersensitivity link PROMPT turnover to the DNA damage response.
The cell-cycle checkpoint kinase Chk1 is essential in mammalian cells due to its roles in controlling processes such as DNA replication, mitosis and DNA-damage responses. Despite its paramount importance, how Chk1 controls these functions remains unclear, mainly because very few Chk1 substrates have hitherto been identified.
The DNA-damage checkpoint kinase Chk1 is essential in higher eukaryotes due to its role in maintaining genome stability in proliferating cells. CHK1 gene deletion is embryonically lethal, and Chk1 inhibition in replicating cells causes cell-cycle defects that eventually lead to perturbed replication and replication-fork collapse, thus generating endogenous DNA damage. What is the cause of replication-fork collapse when Chk1 is inactivated, however, remains poorly understood. Here, we show that generation of DNA double-strand breaks at replication forks when Chk1 activity is compromised relies on the DNA endonuclease complex Mus81/Eme1. Importantly, we show that Mus81/Eme1-dependent DNA damage--rather than a global increase in replication-fork stalling--is the cause of incomplete replication in Chk1-deficient cells. Consequently, Mus81/Eme1 depletion alleviates the S-phase progression defects associated with Chk1 deficiency, thereby increasing cell survival. Chk1-mediated protection of replication forks from Mus81/Eme1 even under otherwise unchallenged conditions is therefore vital to prevent uncontrolled fork collapse and ensure proper S-phase progression in human cells.
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