[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Flap endonuclease-1 (FEN1) is a member of the Rad2 structure-specific nuclease family. FEN1 possesses FEN, 5'-exonuclease and gap-endonuclease activities. The multiple nuclease activities of FEN1 allow it to participate in numerous DNA metabolic pathways, including Okazaki fragment maturation, stalled replication fork rescue, telomere maintenance, long-patch base excision repair and apoptotic DNA fragmentation. Here, we summarize the distinct roles of the different nuclease activities of FEN1 in these pathways. Recent biochemical and genetic studies indicate that FEN1 interacts with more than 30 proteins and undergoes post-translational modifications. We discuss how FEN1 is regulated via these mechanisms. Moreover, FEN1 interacts with five distinct groups of DNA metabolic proteins, allowing the nuclease to be recruited to a specific DNA metabolic complex, such as the DNA replication machinery for RNA primer removal or the DNA degradosome for apoptotic DNA fragmentation. Some FEN1 interaction partners also stimulate FEN1 nuclease activities to further ensure efficient action in processing of different DNA structures. Post-translational modifications, on the other hand, may be critical to regulate protein-protein interactions and cellular localizations of FEN1. Lastly, we also review the biological significance of FEN1 as a tumor suppressor, with an emphasis on studies of human mutations and mouse models.
Nucleic Acids Research 10/2010; 39(3):781-94. · 8.81 Impact Factor