Stable interactions between DNA polymerase delta catalytic and structural subunits are essential for efficient DNA repair.


Eukaryotic DNA polymerase delta (Pol delta) activity is crucial for chromosome replication and DNA repair and thus, plays an essential role in genome stability. In Saccharomyces cerevisiae, Pol delta is a heterotrimeric complex composed of the catalytic subunit Pol3, the structural B subunit Pol31, and Pol32, an additional auxiliary subunit. Pol3 interacts with Pol31 thanks to its C-terminal domain (CTD) and this interaction is of functional importance both in DNA replication and DNA repair. Interestingly, deletion of the last four C-terminal Pol3 residues, LSKW, in the pol3-ct mutant does not affect DNA replication but leads to defects in homologous recombination and in break-induced replication (BIR) repair pathways. The defect associated with pol3-ct could result from a defective interaction between Pol delta and a protein involved in recombination. However, we show that the LSKW motif is required for the interaction between Pol3 C-terminal end and Pol31. This loss of interaction is relevant in vivo since we found that pol3-ct confers HU sensitivity on its own and synthetic lethality with a POL32 deletion. Moreover, pol3-ct shows genetic interactions, both suppression and synthetic lethality, with POL31 mutant alleles. Structural analyses indicate that the B subunit of Pol delta displays a major conserved region at its surface and that pol31 alleles interacting with pol3-ct, correspond to substitutions of Pol31 amino acids that are situated in this particular region. Superimposition of our Pol31 model on the 3D architecture of the phylogenetically related DNA polymerase alpha (Pol alpha) suggests that Pol3 CTD interacts with the conserved region of Pol31, thus providing a molecular basis to understand the defects associated with pol3-ct. Taken together, our data highlight a stringent dependence on Pol delta complex stability in DNA repair.




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