Rap80 targets the breast cancer suppressor protein BRCA1 along with Abraxas and the BRCC36 deubiquitinating enzyme (DUB) to polyubiquitin structures at DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs). These DSB targeting events are essential for BRCA1-dependent DNA damage response-induced checkpoint and repair functions. Here, we identify MERIT40 (Mediator of Rap80 Interactions and Targeting 40 kD)/(C19orf62) as a Rap80-associated protein that is essential for BRCA1-Rap80 complex protein interactions, stability, and DSB targeting. Moreover, MERIT40 is required for Rap80-associated lysine(63)-ubiquitin DUB activity, a critical component of BRCA1-Rap80 G2 checkpoint and viability responses to ionizing radiation. Thus, MERIT40 represents a novel factor that links BRCA1-Rap80 complex integrity, DSB recognition, and ubiquitin chain hydrolytic activities to the DNA damage response. These findings provide new molecular insights into how BRCA1 associates with independently assembled core protein complexes to maintain genome integrity.
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