Metnase Mediates Loading of Exonuclease 1 onto Single Strand Overhang DNA for End Resection at Stalled Replication Forks
Stalling at DNA replication forks generates stretches of single-stranded (ss) DNA on both strands that are exposed to nucleolytic degradation, potentially compromising genome stability. One enzyme crucial for DNA replication fork repair and restart of stalled forks in human is Metnase (also known as SETMAR), a chimeric fusion protein consisting of a su(var)3–9, enhancer-of-zeste and trithorax (SET) histone methylase and transposase nuclease domain. We previously showed that Metnase possesses a unique fork cleavage activity necessary for its function in replication restart and that its SET domain is essential for recovery from hydroxyurea-induced DNA damage. However, its exact role in replication restart is unclear. In this study, we show that Metnase associates with exonuclease 1 (Exo1), a 5′-exonuclease crucial for 5′-end resection to mediate DNA processing at stalled forks. Metnase DNA cleavage activity was not required for Exo1 5′-exonuclease activity on the lagging strand daughter DNA, but its DNA binding activity mediated loading of Exo1 onto ssDNA overhangs. Metnase-induced enhancement of Exo1-mediated DNA strand resection required the presence of these overhangs but did not require Metnase's DNA cleavage activity. These results suggest that Metnase enhances Exo1-mediated exonuclease activity on the lagging strand DNA by facilitating Exo1 loading onto a single strand gap at the stalled replication fork.
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