A direct interaction between proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA) and Cdk2 targets PCNA-interacting proteins for phosphorylation.

Abstract:

Proliferating cell nuclear antigen is best known as a DNA polymerase accessory protein but has more recently also been shown to have different functions in important cellular processes such as DNA replication, DNA repair, and cell cycle control. PCNA has been found in quaternary complexes with the cyclin kinase inhibitor p21 and several pairs of cyclin-dependent protein kinases and their regulatory partner, the cyclins. Here we show a direct interaction between PCNA and Cdk2. This interaction involves the regions of the PCNA trimer close to the C termini. We found that PCNA and Cdk2 form a complex together with cyclin A. This ternary PCNA-Cdk2-cyclin A complex was able to phosphorylate the PCNA binding region of the large subunit of replication factor C as well as DNA ligase I. Furthermore, PCNA appears to be a connector between Cdk2 and DNA ligase I and to stimulate phosphorylation of DNA ligase I. Based on our results, we propose the model that PCNA brings Cdk2 to proteins involved in DNA replication and possibly might act as an "adaptor" for Cdk2-cyclin A to PCNA-binding DNA replication proteins.

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