Replication stress and mitotic abnormalities are key features of cancer cells. Temporarily paused forks are stabilized by the intra-S phase checkpoint and protected by the association of Rad51, which prevents Mre11-dependent resection. However, if a fork becomes dysfunctional and cannot resume, this terminally arrested fork is rescued by a converging fork to avoid unreplicated parental DNA during mitosis. Alternatively, dysfunctional forks are restarted by homologous recombination. Using fission yeast, we report that Rad52 and the DNA binding activity of Rad51, but not its strand-exchange activity, act to protect terminally arrested forks from unrestrained Exo1-nucleolytic activity. In the absence of recombination proteins, large ssDNA gaps, up to 3 kb long, occur behind terminally arrested forks, preventing efficient fork merging and leading to mitotic sister chromatid bridging. Thus, Rad52 and Rad51 prevent temporarily and terminally arrested forks from degrading and, despite the availability of converging forks, converting to anaphase bridges causing aneuploidy and cell death.
Pubmed ID: 28475874 RIS Download
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