Upon genotoxic stress, PCNA ubiquitination allows for replication of damaged DNA by recruiting lesion-bypass DNA polymerases. However, PCNA is also ubiquitinated during normal S-phase progression. By employing 293T and RPE1 cells deficient in PCNA ubiquitination, generated through CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing, here, we show that this modification promotes cellular proliferation and suppression of genomic instability under normal growth conditions. Loss of PCNA-ubiquitination results in DNA2-dependent but MRE11-independent nucleolytic degradation of nascent DNA at stalled replication forks. This degradation is linked to defective gap-filling in the wake of the replication fork and incomplete Okazaki fragment maturation, which interferes with efficient PCNA unloading by ATAD5 and subsequent nucleosome deposition by CAF-1. Moreover, concomitant loss of PCNA-ubiquitination and the BRCA pathway results in increased nascent DNA degradation and PARP inhibitor sensitivity. In conclusion, we show that by ensuring efficient Okazaki fragment maturation, PCNA-ubiquitination protects fork integrity and promotes the resistance of BRCA-deficient cells to PARP-inhibitors.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Physics and Astronomy(all)