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Substrate specificity of the MUS81-EME2 structure selective endonuclease.

Authors: Alessandra A. Pepe, Stephen C SC. West
Published: 12/25/2013, Nucleic acids research


MUS81 plays important cellular roles in the restart of stalled replication forks, the resolution of recombination intermediates and in telomere length maintenance. Although the actions of MUS81-EME1 have been extensively investigated, MUS81 is the catalytic subunit of two human structure-selective endonucleases, MUS81-EME1 and MUS81-EME2. Little is presently known about the activities of MUS81-EME2. Here, we have purified MUS81-EME2 and compared its activities with MUS81-EME1. We find that MUS81-EME2 is a more active endonuclease than MUS81-EME1 and exhibits broader substrate specificity. Like MUS81-EME1, MUS81-EME2 cleaves 3'-flaps, replication forks and nicked Holliday junctions, and exhibits limited endonuclease activity with intact Holliday junctions. In contrast to MUS81-EME1, however, MUS81-EME2 cuts D-loop recombination intermediates and in so doing disengages the D-loop structure by cleaving the 3'-invading strand. Additionally, MUS81-EME2 acts on 5'-flap structures to cleave off a duplex arm, in reactions that cannot be promoted by MUS81-EME1. These studies suggest that MUS81-EME1 and MUS81-EME2 exhibit similar and yet distinct DNA structure selectivity, indicating that the two MUS81 complexes may promote different nucleolytic cleavage reactions in vivo.

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