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PLoS One. 2013;8(3):e58835. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0058835. Epub 2013 Mar 26.

The p14ARF alternate reading frame protein enhances DNA binding of topoisomerase I by interacting with the serine 506-phosphorylated core domain.

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Torrey Pines Institute for Molecular Studies, San Diego, California, USA.


In addition to its well-characterized function as a tumor suppressor, p14ARF (ARF) is a positive regulator of topoisomerase I (topo I), a central enzyme in DNA metabolism and a target for cancer therapy. We previously showed that topo I hyperphosphorylation, a cancer-associated event mediated by elevated levels of the protein kinase CK2, increases topo I activity and the cellular sensitivity to topo I-targeted drugs. Topo I hyperphosphorylation also increases its interaction with ARF. Because the ARF-topo I interaction could be highly relevant to DNA metabolism and cancer treatment, we identified the regions of topo I involved in ARF binding and characterized the effects of ARF binding on topo I function. Using a series of topo I deletion constructs, we found that ARF interacted with the topo I core domain, which encompasses most of the catalytic and DNA-interacting residues. ARF binding increased the DNA relaxation activity of hyperphosphorylated topo I by enhancing its association with DNA, but did not affect the topo I catalytic rate. In cells, ARF promoted the chromatin association of hyperphosphorylated, but not basal phosphorylated, topo I, and increased topo I-mediated DNA nicking under conditions of oxidative stress. The aberrant nicking was found to correlate with increased formation of DNA double-strand breaks, which are precursors of many genome destabilizing events. The results suggest that the convergent actions of oxidative stress and elevated CK2 and ARF levels, which are common features of cancer cells, lead to a dysregulation of topo I that may contribute both to the cellular response to topo I-targeted drugs and to genome instability.

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