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J Biol Chem. 2012 Mar 30;287(14):11374-83. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M111.336263. Epub 2012 Feb 2.

During replication stress, non-SMC element 5 (NSE5) is required for Smc5/6 protein complex functionality at stalled forks.

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  • 1Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Southern Alberta Cancer Research Institute, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta T2N 4N1, Canada.


The Smc5/6 complex belongs to the SMC (structural maintenance of chromosomes) family, which also includes cohesin and condensin. In Saccharomyces cerevisiae, the Smc5/6 complex contains six essential non-Smc elements, Nse1-6. Very little is known about how these additional elements contribute to complex function except for Nse2/Mms21, which is an E3 small ubiquitin-like modifier (SUMO) ligase important for Smc5 sumoylation. Characterization of two temperature-sensitive mutants, nse5-ts1 and nse5-ts2, demonstrated the importance of Nse5 within the Smc5/6 complex for its stability and functionality at forks during hydroxyurea-induced replication stress. Both NSE5 alleles showed a marked reduction in Smc5 sumoylation to levels lower than those observed with mms21-11, a mutant of Mms21 that is deficient in SUMO ligase activity. However, a phenotypic comparison of nse5-ts1 and nse5-ts2 revealed a separation of importance between Smc5 sumoylation and the function of the Smc5/6 complex during replication. Only cells carrying the nse5-ts1 allele exhibited defects such as dissociation of the replisome from stalled forks, formation of fork-associated homologous recombination intermediates, and hydroxyurea sensitivity that is additive with mms21-11. These defects are attributed to a failure in Smc5/6 localization to forks in nse5-ts1 cells. Overall, these data support the premise that Nse5 is important for vital interactions between components within the Smc5/6 complex, and for its functionality during replication stress.

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