The schizosaccharomyces pombe rad11+ gene encodes the large subunit of replication protein A

Andrew E. Parker, Rosemary K. Clyne, Antony M. Carr, Thomas J. Kelly

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39 Scopus citations


Replication protein A (RPA) is a heterotrimeric single-stranded DNA- binding protein present in all eukaryotes. In vitro studies have implicated RPA in simian virus 40 DNA synthesis and nucleotide excision repair, but little direct information is available about the in vive roles of the protein. We report here the cloning of the largest subunit of RPA (rpa1+) from the fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe. The rpa1+ gene is essential for viability and is expressed specifically at S phase of the cell cycle. Genetic analysis revealed that rpa1+ is the locus of the S. pombe radiation-sensitive mutation radii. The rad11 allele exhibits pleiotropic effects consistent with an in vive role for RPA in both DNA repair and DNA synthesis. The mutant is sensitive to both UV and ionizing radiation but is not defective in the DNA damage-dependent checkpoint, consistent with the hypothesis that RPA is part of the enzymatic machinery of DNA repair. When incubated in hydroxyurea, rad11 cells initially arrest with a 1C DNA content but then lose viability coincident with reentry into S phase, suggesting that DNA synthesis is aberrant under these conditions. A significant fraction of the mutant cells subsequently undergo inappropriate mitosis in the presence of hydroxyurea, indicating that RPA also plays a role in the checkpoint mechanism that monitors the completion of S phase. We propose that RPA is required to maintain the integrity of replication complexes when DNA replication is blocked. We further suggest that the radii mutation leads to the premature breakdown of such complexes, thereby preventing recovery from the hydroxyurea arrest and eliminating a signal recognized by the S-phase checkpoint mechanism.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2381-2390
Number of pages10
JournalMolecular and cellular biology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1997

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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