A genetic screen identifies FAN1, a Fanconi anemia-associated nuclease necessary for DNA interstrand crosslink repair.

Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Department of Genetics, Harvard Medical School, and Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, MA 02115, USA.
Molecular cell (Impact Factor: 14.46). 07/2010; 39(1):36-47. DOI: 10.1016/j.molcel.2010.06.023
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The Fanconi anemia (FA) pathway is responsible for interstrand crosslink repair. At the heart of this pathway is the FANCI-FAND2 (ID) complex, which, upon ubiquitination by the FA core complex, travels to sites of damage to coordinate repair that includes nucleolytic modification of the DNA surrounding the lesion and translesion synthesis. How the ID complex regulates these events is unknown. Here we describe a shRNA screen that led to the identification of two nucleases necessary for crosslink repair, FAN1 (KIAA1018) and EXDL2. FAN1 colocalizes at sites of DNA damage with the ID complex in a manner dependent on FAN1's ubiquitin-binding domain (UBZ), the ID complex, and monoubiquitination of FANCD2. FAN1 possesses intrinsic 5'-3' exonuclease activity and endonuclease activity that cleaves nicked and branched structures. We propose that FAN1 is a repair nuclease that is recruited to sites of crosslink damage in part through binding the ubiquitinated ID complex through its UBZ domain.

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    ABSTRACT: Genetic recombination is important for generating diversity and to ensure faithful segregation of chromosomes at meiosis. However, few crossovers (COs) are formed per meiosis despite an excess of DNA double-strand break precursors. This reflects the existence of active mechanisms that limit CO formation. We previously showed that AtFANCM is a meiotic anti-CO factor. The same genetic screen now identified AtMHF2 as another player of the same anti-CO pathway. FANCM and MHF2 are both Fanconi Anemia (FA) associated proteins, prompting us to test the other FA genes conserved in Arabidopsis for a role in CO control at meiosis. This revealed that among the FA proteins tested, only FANCM and its two DNA-binding co-factors MHF1 and MHF2 limit CO formation at meiosis.
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    ABSTRACT: FAN1 is a structure-selective DNA repair nuclease with 5' flap endonuclease activity, involved in the repair of interstrand DNA crosslinks. It is the only eukaryotic protein with a virus-type replication-repair nuclease ("VRR-Nuc") "module" that commonly occurs as a standalone domain in many bacteria and viruses. Crystal structures of three representatives show that they structurally resemble Holliday junction resolvases (HJRs), are dimeric in solution, and are able to cleave symmetric four-way junctions. In contrast, FAN1 orthologs are monomeric and cleave 5' flap structures in vitro, but not Holliday junctions. Modeling of the VRR-Nuc domain of FAN1 reveals that it has an insertion, which packs against the dimerization interface observed in the structures of the viral/bacterial VRR-Nuc proteins. We propose that these additional structural elements in FAN1 prevent dimerization and bias specificity toward flap structures.
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