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The cytotoxicity of DNA-protein crosslinks (DPCs) is largely ascribed to their ability to block the progression of DNA replication. DPCs frequently occur in cells, either as a consequence of metabolism or exogenous agents, but the mechanism of DPC repair is not completely understood. Here, we characterize SPRTN as a specialized DNA-dependent and DNA replication-coupled metalloprotease for DPC repair. SPRTN cleaves various DNA binding substrates during S-phase progression and thus protects proliferative cells from DPC toxicity. Ruijs-Aalfs syndrome (RJALS) patient cells with monogenic and biallelic mutations in SPRTN are hypersensitive to DPC-inducing agents due to a defect in DNA replication fork progression and the inability to eliminate DPCs. We propose that SPRTN protease represents a specialized DNA replication-coupled DPC repair pathway essential for DNA replication progression and genome stability. Defective SPRTN-dependent clearance of DPCs is the molecular mechanism underlying RJALS, and DPCs are contributing to accelerated aging and cancer.

Original publication

DOI

10.1016/j.molcel.2016.09.032

Type

Journal article

Journal

Molecular Cell

Publisher

Elsevier (Cell Press)

Publication Date

17/11/2016