Systematic analysis of DNA crosslink repair pathways during development and aging in Caenorhabditis elegans

Wilson DM, Rieckher M, Williams AB, Schumacher B

Nucleic Acids Res. 2017 Sep;45(16):9467-9480

PMID: 28934497


DNA interstrand crosslinks (ICLs) are generated by endogenous sources and chemotherapeutics, and pose a threat to genome stability and cell survival. Using Caenorhabditis elegans mutants, we identify DNA repair factors that protect against the genotoxicity of ICLs generated by trioxsalen/ultraviolet A (TMP/UVA) during development and aging. Mutations in nucleotide excision repair (NER) components (e.g. XPA-1 and XPF-1) imparted extreme sensitivity to TMP/UVA relative to wild-type animals, manifested as developmental arrest, defects in adult tissue morphology and functionality, and shortened lifespan. Compensatory roles for global-genome (XPC-1) and transcription-coupled (CSB-1) NER in ICL sensing were exposed. The analysis also revealed contributions of homologous recombination (BRC-1/BRCA1), the MUS-81, EXO-1, SLX-1 and FAN-1 nucleases, and the DOG-1 (FANCJ) helicase in ICL resolution, influenced by the replicative-status of the cell/tissue. No obvious or critical role in ICL repair was seen for non-homologous end-joining (cku-80) or base excision repair (nth-1, exo-3), the Fanconi-related proteins BRC-2 (BRCA2/FANCD1) and FCD-2 (FANCD2), the WRN-1 or HIM-6 (BLM) helicases, or the GEN-1 or MRT-1 (SNM1) nucleases. Our efforts uncover replication-dependent and -independent ICL repair networks, and establish nematodes as a model for investigating the repair and consequences of DNA crosslinks in metazoan development and in adult post-mitotic and proliferative germ cells.

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