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Mol Cell. 2012 Jun 8;46(5):625-35. doi: 10.1016/j.molcel.2012.05.020.

Spartan/C1orf124, a reader of PCNA ubiquitylation and a regulator of UV-induced DNA damage response.

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Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center, Harvard Medical School, Charlestown, MA 02129, USA.


PCNA is a key component of DNA replication and repair machineries. DNA damage-induced PCNA ubiquitylation serves as a molecular mark to orchestrate postreplication repair. Here, we have identified and characterized Spartan, a protein that specifically recognizes ubiquitylated PCNA and plays an important role in cellular resistance to UV radiation. In vitro, Spartan engages ubiquitylated PCNA via both a PIP box and a UBZ domain. In cells, Spartan is recruited to sites of UV damage in a manner dependent upon the PIP box, the UBZ domain, and PCNA ubiquitylation. Furthermore, Spartan colocalizes and interacts with Rad18, the E3 ubiquitin ligase that modifies PCNA. Surprisingly, while Spartan is recruited by ubiquitylated PCNA, knockdown of Spartan compromised chromatin association of Rad18, monoubiquitylation of PCNA, and localization of Pol η to UV damage. Thus, as a "reader" of ubiquitylated PCNA, Spartan promotes an unexpected feed-forward loop to enhance PCNA ubiquitylation and translesion DNA synthesis.

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