A SUMO ligase is part of a nuclear multiprotein complex that affects DNA repair and chromosomal organization.
Through a genetic screen using myosin-like protein strains mlp1Delta mlp2Delta and biochemical purification, we identified a complex of eight proteins, each required for growth and DNA repair in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Among the subunits are Mms21 that contains a putative Siz/PIAS (protein inhibitor of activated signal transducer and activator of transcription) RING domain characteristic of small ubiquitin-like modifier (SUMO) ligases, two structural-maintenance-of-chromosome (Smc) proteins, Smc5 and Smc6, and a protein that contains an ubiquitin ligase signature domain. We show that these proteins colocalized to several distinct nuclear foci. Biochemical and genetic data demonstrated that Mms21 indeed functions as a SUMO ligase and that this activity requires the Siz/PIAS (protein inhibitor of activated signal transducer and activator of transcription) RING domain. The substrates for this SUMO ligase include a subunit of the octameric complex, Smc5, and the DNA repair protein Yku70. We further show that the abolition of the SUMO E3 activity of Mms21 leads to such disparate phenotypes as DNA damage sensitivity, defects in nucleolar integrity and telomere clustering, silencing, and length regulation. We propose that Mms21 sumoylates proteins involved in these diverse processes and that the other members of the complex, particularly Smc5/6, facilitate proper substrate sumoylation by localizing Mms21 to specific chromosomal regions.