Molecular Genetic Analysis Of The Role Of Nse2, A SUMO E3 Ligase Of The Smc5/6 Complex, In Resisting Genotoxic Stress And Maintaining Chromosome Stability In Saccharomyces Cerevisiae
DNA repair pathways have evolved to protect the genome from damage caused by intrinsic and extrinsic factors. Although numerous DNA repair mechanisms have been studied and reported, information regarding how they coordinate with the necessary changes in chromatin structure is scarce. Smc (structural maintenance of chromosomes) proteins are a conserved, essential family of proteins required for chromosome organization and accurate segregation. The budding yeast, Saccharomyces cerevisiae has three Smc-protein complexes: Smc1/3 complex (cohesin), Smc2/4 complex (condensin) and the Smc5/6 complex, required for sister chromatid cohesion, condensation and DNA repair, respectively. The chromatin associated Smc5/6 complex consists of Smc5, Smc6 and six non-smc elements (Nse1-Nse6). Smc5 and Smc6 are required for stability of repetitive chromosomal regions and sister chromatid recombination-mediated repair of double-strand breaks. Mms21/Nse2, a subunit of the Smc5/6 complex, is a SUMO E3-ligase, which conjugates SUMO (small ubiquitin-like modifier) to Smc5 and Yku70 (DNA repair protein) and its SUMO ligase activity protects the cells from extrinsic DNA damage. To address the role of Nse2 SUMO ligase in cellular events, we isolated mutants (nse2∆sl and nse2C221A) defective in the E3-ligase domain of Nse2 and found that these mutants are sensitive to genotoxic agents, for example MMS, UV or bleomycin, as expected. We found that cysteine 221 present in the SP-RING domain of Nse2 is required in the function of Nse2 in resisting genotoxic stress. We found that nse2∆sl cultures are slow growing and show increased abundance of cells having 2N DNA content (indicative of a G2-M cell cycle delay or arrest) relative to wild type cells. The DNA damage checkpoint pathway is activated to a limited extent in unchallenged nse2∆sl mutant cells indicating that cells lacking the SUMO ligase activity of Nse2 incur spontaneous DNA damage. Furthermore nse2∆sl cells are exquisitely sensitive to caffeine, an agent known to override the DNA damage checkpoint in a number of organisms by inhibiting the DNA damage checkpoint transducer ATR (Homo sapiens), Mec1 (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) and Rad3 (Schizosaccharomyces pombe). In order to investigate the importance of the DNA damage checkpoint pathway for nse2∆sl cells, we employed a genetic approach. We found that nse2∆sl exhibits synthetic sick interaction with mec1∆ but not tel1∆ (defective in Mec1 or Tel1 PI kinases) or mrc1∆ (defective in Mrc1 or mediator of replication checkpoint 1) indicating that the DNA damage induced Mec1 dependent checkpoint pathway is selectively required but the replication stress checkpoint pathway is dispensable for optimal growth of unchallenged nse2∆sl cells. In order to further investigate the role of Nse2 in S phase events, we used camptothecin (CPT), a drug that induces S phase specific double strand breaks. CPT inhibits topoisomerase I by trapping the covalent Top1-DNA intermediate. Collision of a DNA replication fork with such a complex results in double-strand and single-strand breaks in DNA. We found that nse2∆sl is CPT-sensitive and that nse2∆sl top1-8 has a synthetic sick phenotype. Thus, our chemical and genetic interaction studies suggest that the SUMO ligase activity of Nse2 may be required when Top1 function is compromised. Interestingly, human and yeast Top1 proteins are known to be sumoylated. Our findings suggest that MMS-induced enhancement of Top1 sumoylation in budding yeast is partially dependent on SUMO ligase activity of Nse2. Since both sumoylation and Top1 play a role in telomere maintenance, we also examined the telomere length in single as well as double mutants and found that there is slight telomere lengthening in nse2∆sl top1-8 double mutant. To gain further insight into the genetic interaction between Nse2 and other proteins which affect DNA topology, we also investigated genetic interaction of Nse2 with other topoisomerases. We found that top3-2 nse2∆sl exhibited a synthetic sick phenotype but nse2∆sl top2-4 showed partial rescue of temperature sensitivity. In order to investigate whether chromosome integrity is compromised in nse2∆sl cells we employed a YAC (yeast artificial chromosome) based assay to examine GCRs (gross chromosomal rearrangements). We found elevated levels of GCR in nse2∆sl cells compared to wild type cells. Furthermore, deletion of DNA Topoisomerase1 in nse2∆sl background selectively destabilizes a longer YAC relative to shorter YACs. We also examined the effect of varying origin number on YAC stability in nse2∆sl as well as top1∆ and nse2∆sl top1∆ cells. We found that a YAC having fewer origins is not destabilized in nse2∆sl and top1∆ single mutants but is destabilized in the nse2∆sl top1∆ double mutant. Since Nse2 is a non-SMC member of the Smc5/6 complex, we also investigated the effect of varying origin number on YAC stability in smc6-56 and smc656 top1∆ mutants. We found that the stability of a YAC is modestly compromised in the smc6-56 mutant but its derivative having fewer origins is not further destabilized, rather it seems to be stabilized. In order to gain molecular insights into the involvement of the SUMO ligase activity of Nse2 in maintenance of chromosome integrity, we examined sumoylation of specific substrates following a candidate approach. Smc5 and Yku70 are known targets of Nse2dependent sumoylation. We found that Smc6 is also sumoylated and that the MMS-induced enhancement of Smc6 sumoylation in budding yeast is partially dependent on Nse2. To understand the functional significance of Smc5 sumoylation, we mutated lysine residues of all the four predicted sumoylation sites ψKXE/D, individually as well as all four together. We found that all the single as well as quadruple mutants were weakly sensitive to MMS suggesting that these putative sumoylation sites of Smc5 may contribute towards countering MMS-induced DNA damage. Interestingly, we found that Smc5 sumoylation is enhanced when treated with MMS (methyl methane sulfonate) but not significantly with HU (hydroxyurea) and CPT (camptothecin). We also generated putative ATP-binding defective mutants in Smc5. Previous studies suggest that the ATPase motif is required for the essential function of some Smc proteins (for example, Smc1 and Smc6). We found that smc5K75E and smc5K75Q, having a mutation in the lysine residue of the conserved GXGKS motif present in the Walker A type box at the Nterminus exhibited a null phenotype implying that this conserved lysine residue is required for essential function of Smc5. In this study, employing genetic and biochemical methods, we have characterized the Nse2 SUMO ligase defective mutant and analyzed its role in the unperturbed mitotic cell cycle and in genome maintenance. We have also employed genetic methods to study the involvement of both Nse2 and DNA Topoisomerase I in maintaining genomic stability. Lastly, we have addressed the functional significance of Lysine residues of putative sumoylation sites and the conserved ATP-binding motif of Smc5 by mutational analysis. In conclusion, our study highlights an important role for the SUMO ligase activity of Nse2 in maintaining genomic stability and suggests that sumoylation of Smc5 may be important for resisting MMS-induced genotoxic stress.
- Biochemistry (BC)