DRecQ4 is required for DNA synthesis and essential for cell proliferation in Drosophila.
ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: The family of RecQ DNA helicases plays an important role in the maintenance of genomic integrity. Mutations in three of the five known RecQ family members in humans, BLM, WRN and RecQ4, lead to disorders that are characterized by predisposition to cancer and premature aging. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: To address the in vivo functions of Drosophila RecQ4 (dRecQ4), we generated mutant alleles of dRecQ4 using the targeted gene knock-out technique. Our data show that dRecQ4 mutants are homozygous lethal with defects in DNA replication, cell cycle progression and cell proliferation. Two sets of experiments suggest that dRecQ4 also plays a role in DNA double strand break repair. First, mutant animals exhibit sensitivity to gamma irradiation. Second, the efficiency of DsRed reconstitution via single strand annealing repair is significantly reduced in the dRecQ4 mutant animals. Rescue experiments further show that both the N-terminal domain and the helicase domain are essential to dRecQ4 function in vivo. The N-terminal domain is sufficient for the DNA repair function of dRecQ4. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: Together, our results show that dRecQ4 is an essential gene that plays an important role in not only DNA replication but also DNA repair and cell cycle progression in vivo.
Project description:Three (BLM, WRN, and RECQ4) of the five human RecQ helicases are linked to genetic disorders characterized by genomic instability, cancer, and accelerated aging . RECQ1, the first human RecQ helicase discovered [2-4] and the most abundant , was recently implicated in breast cancer [6, 7]. RECQ1 is an ATP-dependent DNA-unwinding enzyme (helicase) [8, 9] with roles in replication [10-12] and DNA repair [13-16]. RECQ1 is highly expressed in various tumors and cancer cell lines (for review, see ), and its suppression reduces cancer cell proliferation , suggesting a target for anti-cancer drugs. RECQ1's assembly state plays a critical role in modulating its helicase, branch migration (BM), or strand annealing [18, 19]. The crystal structure of truncated RECQ1 [20, 21] resembles that of E. coli RecQ  with two RecA-like domains, a RecQ-specific zinc-binding domain and a winged-helix domain, the latter implicated in DNA strand separation and oligomer formation. In addition, a conserved aromatic loop (AL) is important for DNA unwinding by bacterial RecQ [23, 24] and truncated RECQ1 helicases . To better understand the roles of RECQ1, two AL mutants (W227A and F231A) in full-length RECQ1 were characterized biochemically and genetically. The RECQ1 mutants were defective in helicase or BM but retained DNA binding, oligomerization, ATPase, and strand annealing. RECQ1-depleted HeLa cells expressing either AL mutant displayed reduced replication tract length, elevated dormant origin firing, and increased double-strand breaks that could be suppressed by exogenously expressed replication protein A (RPA). Thus, RECQ1 governs RPA's availability in order to maintain normal replication dynamics, suppress DNA damage, and preserve genome homeostasis.
Project description:RecQ4 is a member of the RecQ helicase family, an evolutionarily conserved class of enzymes, dedicated to preserving genomic integrity by operating in telomere maintenance, DNA repair and replication. While reduced RecQ4 activity is associated with cancer predisposition and premature aging, RecQ4 upregulation is related to carcinogenesis and metastasis. Within the RecQ family, RecQ4 assumes an exceptional position, lacking several characteristic RecQ domains. Here we present the crystal structure of human RecQ4, encompassing the conserved ATPase core and a novel C-terminal domain that lacks resemblance to the RQC domain observed in other RecQ helicases. The new domain features a zinc-binding site and two distinct types of winged-helix domains, which are not involved in canonical DNA binding or helicase activity. Based on our structural and functional analysis, we propose that RecQ4 exerts a helicase mechanism, which may be more closely related to bacterial RecQ helicases than to its human family members.
Project description:RecQ helicases are essential in the maintenance of genome stability. Five paralogues (RecQ1, Bloom, Werner, RecQ4, and RecQ5) are found in human cells, with distinct but overlapping roles. Mutations in human RecQ4 give rise to three distinct genetic disorders (Rothmund-Thomson, RAPADILINO, and Baller-Gerold syndromes), characterized by genetic instability, growth deficiency, and predisposition to cancer. Previous studies suggested that RecQ4 was unique because it did not seem to contain a RecQ C-terminal region (RQC) found in the other RecQ paralogues; such a region consists of a zinc domain and a winged helix domain and plays an important role in enzyme activity. However, our recent bioinformatic analysis identified in RecQ4 a putative RQC. To experimentally confirm this hypothesis, we report the purification and characterization of the catalytic core of human RecQ4. Inductively coupled plasma-atomic emission spectrometry detected the unusual presence of two zinc clusters within the zinc domain, consistent with the bioinformatic prediction. Analysis of site-directed mutants, targeting key RQC residues (putative zinc ligands and the aromatic residue predicted to be at the tip of the winged helix β-hairpin), showed a decrease in DNA binding, unwinding, and annealing, as expected for a functional RQC domain. Low resolution structural information obtained by small angle X-ray scattering data suggests that RecQ4 interacts with DNA in a manner similar to RecQ1, whereas the winged helix domain may assume alternative conformations, as seen in the bacterial enzymes. These combined results experimentally confirm the presence of a functional RQC domain in human RecQ4.
Project description:Members of the RecQ family play critical roles in maintaining genome integrity. Mutations in human RecQL4 cause a rare genetic disorder, Rothmund-Thomson syndrome. Transgenic mice experiments showed that the RecQ4 null mutant causes embryonic lethality. Although biochemical evidence suggests that the Xenopus RecQ4 is required for the initiation of DNA replication in the oocyte extract, its biological functions during development remain to be elucidated. We present here our results in establishing the use of Drosophila as a model system to probe RecQ4 functions. Immunofluorescence experiments monitoring the cellular distribution of RecQ4 demonstrated that RecQ4 expression peaks during S phase, and RecQ4 is expressed only in tissues active in DNA replication, but not in quiescent cells. We have isolated Drosophila RecQ4 hypomorphic mutants, recq(EP) and recq4(23), which specifically reduce chorion gene amplification of follicle cells by 4-5 fold, resulting in thin and fragile eggshells, and female sterility. Quantitative analysis on amplification defects over a 14-kb domain in chorion gene cluster suggests that RecQ4 may have a specific function at or near the origin of replication. A null allele recq4(19) causes a failure in cell proliferation, decrease in DNA replication, chromosomal fragmentation, and lethality at the stage of first instar larvae. The mosaic analysis indicates that cell clones with homozygous recq4(19) fail to proliferate. These results indicate that RecQ4 is essential for viability and fertility, and is required for most aspects of DNA replication during development.
Project description:Members of the RecQ family of proteins are highly conserved DNA helicases that have important functions in the maintenance of genomic stability. Deficiencies in RecQ4 have been linked to human diseases including Rothmund-Thomson, RAPADILINO, and Baller-Gerold syndromes, all of which are characterized by developmental defects, tumor propensity, and genetic instability. However, there are conflicting results shown in the literature regarding the DNA helicase activity of RecQ4. We report here the expression of Drosophila melanogaster RecQ4 with a baculoviral vector and its purification to near homogeneity. The purified protein has a DNA-dependent ATPase activity and is a 3'-5' DNA helicase dependent on hydrolysis of ATP. The presence of 5'-adenylyl-beta,gamma-imidodiphosphate (AMPPNP), a nonhydrolyzable ATP analog, promotes stable complex formation between RecQ4 and single-stranded DNA. Drosophila RecQ4 can also anneal complementary single strands; this activity was reduced in the presence of AMPPNP, possibly because of the stable protein-DNA complex formed under such conditions. A point mutation of the highly conserved lysine residue in the helicase domain, although retaining the wild type level of annealing activity, inactivated ATPase and helicase activities and eliminated stable complex formation. These results suggest that the helicase domain alone is responsible for the DNA unwinding action of the Drosophila enzyme. We generated a null recq4 mutant that is homozygous lethal, which we used to test the genetic function of the helicase-dead mutant in flies. Complementation tests showed that the helicase-dead mutant recq4 transgenes are incapable of rescuing the null mutation, demonstrating that the helicase activity has an essential biological function.
Project description:RecQ helicases are essential for the maintenance of genome stability. Five members of the RecQ family have been found in humans, including RECQ1, RECQ5, BLM, WRN, and RECQ4; the last three are associated with human diseases. At this time, only BLM and WRN helicases have been extensively characterized, and the information on the other RecQ helicases has only started to emerge. Our current paper is focused on the biochemical properties of human RECQ1 helicase. Recent cellular studies have shown that RECQ1 may participate in DNA repair and homologous recombination, but the exact mechanisms of how RECQ1 performs its cellular functions remain largely unknown. Whereas RECQ1 possesses poor helicase activity, we found here that the enzyme efficiently promotes DNA branch migration. Further analysis revealed that RECQ1 catalyzes unidirectional three-stranded branch migration with a 3' --> 5' polarity. We show that this RECQ1 activity is instrumental in specific disruption of joint molecules (D-loops) formed by a 5' single-stranded DNA invading strand, which may represent dead end intermediates of homologous recombination in vivo. The newly found enzymatic properties of the RECQ1 helicase may have important implications for the function of RECQ1 in maintenance of genomic stability.
Project description:Humans have five members of the well conserved RecQ helicase family: RecQ1, Bloom syndrome protein (BLM), Werner syndrome protein (WRN), RecQ4, and RecQ5, which are all known for their roles in maintaining genome stability. BLM, WRN, and RecQ4 are associated with premature aging and cancer predisposition. Of the three, RecQ4's biological and cellular roles have been least thoroughly characterized. Here we tested the helicase activity of purified human RecQ4 on various substrates. Consistent with recent results, we detected ATP-dependent RecQ4 unwinding of forked duplexes. However, our results provide the first evidence that human RecQ4's unwinding is independent of strand annealing, and that it does not require the presence of excess ssDNA. Moreover, we demonstrate that a point mutation of the conserved lysine in the Walker A motif abolished helicase activity, implying that not the N-terminal portion, but the helicase domain is solely responsible for the enzyme's unwinding activity. In addition, we demonstrate a novel stimulation of RecQ4's helicase activity by replication protein A, similar to that of RecQ1, BLM, WRN, and RecQ5. Together, these data indicate that specific biochemical activities and protein partners of RecQ4 are conserved with those of the other RecQ helicases.
Project description:Genomic instability is a known precursor to cancer and aging. The RecQ helicases are a highly conserved family of DNA-unwinding enzymes that play key roles in maintaining genome stability in all living organisms. Human RecQ homologs include RECQ1, BLM, WRN, RECQ4, and RECQ5?, three of which have been linked to diseases with elevated risk of cancer and growth defects (Bloom Syndrome and Rothmund-Thomson Syndrome) or premature aging (Werner Syndrome). RECQ1, the first RecQ helicase discovered and the most abundant in human cells, is the least well understood of the five human RecQ homologs. We have previously described that knockout of RECQ1 in mice or knockdown of its expression in human cells results in elevated frequency of spontaneous sister chromatid exchanges, chromosomal instability, increased load of DNA damage and heightened sensitivity to ionizing radiation. We have now obtained evidence implicating RECQ1 in the nonhomologous end-joining pathway of DNA double-strand break repair. We show that RECQ1 interacts directly with the Ku70/80 subunit of the DNA-PK complex, and depletion of RECQ1 results in reduced end-joining in cell free extracts. In vitro, RECQ1 binds and unwinds the Ku70/80-bound partial duplex DNA substrate efficiently. Linear DNA is co-bound by RECQ1 and Ku70/80, and DNA binding by Ku70/80 is modulated by RECQ1. Collectively, these results provide the first evidence for an interaction of RECQ1 with Ku70/80 and a role of the human RecQ helicase in double-strand break repair through nonhomologous end-joining.
Project description:Cellular and biochemical studies support a role for all five human RecQ helicases in DNA replication; however, their specific functions during this process are unclear. Here we investigate the in vivo association of the five human RecQ helicases with three well-characterized human replication origins. We show that only RECQ1 (also called RECQL or RECQL1) and RECQ4 (also called RECQL4) associate with replication origins in a cell cycle-regulated fashion in unperturbed cells. RECQ4 is recruited to origins at late G(1), after ORC and MCM complex assembly, while RECQ1 and additional RECQ4 are loaded at origins at the onset of S phase, when licensed origins begin firing. Both proteins are lost from origins after DNA replication initiation, indicating either disassembly or tracking with the newly formed replisome. Nascent-origin DNA synthesis and the frequency of origin firing are reduced after RECQ1 depletion and, to a greater extent, after RECQ4 depletion. Depletion of RECQ1, though not that of RECQ4, also suppresses replication fork rates in otherwise unperturbed cells. These results indicate that RECQ1 and RECQ4 are integral components of the human replication complex and play distinct roles in DNA replication initiation and replication fork progression in vivo.
Project description:Mutations in RECQ4, a member of the RecQ family of DNA helicases, have been linked to the progeroid disease Rothmund-Thomson Syndrome. Attempts to understand the complex phenotypes observed in recq4-deficient cells suggest a potential involvement in DNA repair and replication, yet the molecular basis of the function of RECQ4 in these processes remains unknown. Here, we report the identification of a highly purified chromatin-bound RECQ4 complex from human cell extracts. We found that essential replisome factors MCM10, MCM2-7 helicase, CDC45 and GINS are the primary interaction partner proteins of human RECQ4. Importantly, complex formation and the association of RECQ4 with the replication origin are cell-cycle regulated. Furthermore, we show that MCM10 is essential for the integrity of the RECQ4-MCM replicative helicase complex. MCM10 interacts directly with RECQ4 and regulates its DNA unwinding activity, and that this interaction may be modulated by cyclin-dependent kinase phosphorylation. Thus, these studies show that RECQ4 is an integral component of the MCM replicative helicase complex participating in DNA replication in human cells.