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J Mol Biol. 2007 Feb 9;366(1):36-52. Epub 2006 Nov 3.

Mammalian TIMELESS and Tipin are evolutionarily conserved replication fork-associated factors.

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  • 1Division of Human Genetics and Molecular Biology, The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA.


The function of the mammalian TIMELESS protein (TIM) has been enigmatic. TIM is essential for early embryonic development, but little is known regarding its biochemical and cellular function. Although identified based on similarity to a Drosophila circadian clock factor, it also shares similarity with a second family of proteins that is more widely conserved throughout eukaryotes. Members of this second protein family in yeast (S.c. Tof1p, S.p. Swi1p) have been implicated in DNA synthesis, S-phase-dependent checkpoint activation and chromosome cohesion, three processes coordinated at the level of the replication fork complex. The present work demonstrates that mammalian TIM and its constitutive binding partner, Tipin (ortholog of S.c. Csm3p, S.p. Swi3p), are replisome-associated proteins. Both proteins associate with components of the endogenous replication fork complex, and are present at BrdU-positive DNA replication sites. Knock-down of TIM also compromises DNA replication efficiency. Further, the direct binding of the TIM-Tipin complex to the 34 kDa subunit of replication protein A provides a biochemical explanation for the potential coupling role of these proteins. Like TIM, Tipin is also involved in the molecular mechanism of UV-dependent checkpoint activation and cell growth arrest. Tipin additionally associates with peroxiredoxin2 and appears to be involved in checkpoint responses to H(2)O(2), a role recently described for yeast versions of TIM and Tipin. Together, this work establishes TIM and Tipin as functional orthologs of their replisome-associated yeast counterparts capable of coordinating replication with genotoxic stress responses, and distinguishes mammalian TIM from the circadian-specific paralogs from which it was originally identified.

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