Mortusewicz O, Evers B, Helleday T
Oncogene 35 (6) 761-770 [2016-02-11; online 2015-05-11]
The transcriptional cofactor PC4 is an ancient single-strand DNA (ssDNA)-binding protein that has a homologue in bacteriophage T5 where it is likely the elusive replicative ssDNA-binding protein. We hypothesize that human PC4 has retained functions in ssDNA binding to stabilize replication forks and prevent genome instability in mammalian cells. Here we demonstrate that PC4 is recruited to hydroxyurea (HU)-stalled replication forks, which is dependent on active transcription and its ssDNA-binding ability. Interestingly, we demonstrate that ssDNA binding by PC4 is critical to suppress spontaneous DNA damage and promote cellular survival. PC4 accumulation co-localizes with replication protein A (RPA) at stalled forks and is increased upon RPA depletion, demonstrating compensatory functions in ssDNA binding. Depletion of PC4 not only results in defective resolution of HU-induced DNA damage but also significantly reduces homologous recombination repair efficiency. Altogether, our results indicate that PC4 has similar functions to RPA in binding ssDNA to promote genome stability, especially at sites of replication-transcription collisions.