Xing M, Wang X, Palmai-Pallag T, Shen H, Helleday T, Hickson ID, Ying S
Oncotarget 6 (35) 37638-37646 [2015-11-10; online 2015-09-29]
The MUS81 protein belongs to a conserved family of DNA structure-specific nucleases that play important roles in DNA replication and repair. Inactivation of the Mus81 gene in mice has no major deleterious consequences for embryonic development, although cancer susceptibility has been reported. We have investigated the role of MUS81 in human cells by acutely depleting the protein using shRNAs. We found that MUS81 depletion from human fibroblasts leads to accumulation of ssDNA and a constitutive DNA damage response that ultimately activates cellular senescence. Moreover, we show that MUS81 is required for efficient replication fork progression during an unperturbed S-phase, and for recovery of productive replication following replication stalling. These results demonstrate essential roles for the MUS81 nuclease in maintenance of replication fork integrity.