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Mol Cell Biol. 2013 Jun;33(12):2485-96. doi: 10.1128/MCB.01406-12. Epub 2013 Apr 15.

CAPNS1 regulates USP1 stability and maintenance of genome integrity.

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LNCIB Laboratorio Nazionale Consorzio Interuniversitario Biotecnologie AREA Science Park-Padriciano, Trieste, Italy.


Calpains regulate a wide spectrum of biological functions, including migration, adhesion, apoptosis, secretion, and autophagy, through the modulating cleavage of specific substrates. Ubiquitous microcalpain (μ-calpain) and millicalpain (m-calpain) are heterodimers composed of catalytic subunits encoded, respectively, by CAPN1 and CAPN2 and a regulatory subunit encoded by CAPNS1. Here we show that calpain is required for the stability of the deubiquitinating enzyme USP1 in several cell lines. USP1 modulates DNA replication polymerase choice and repair by deubiquitinating PCNA. The ubiquitinated form of the USP1 substrate PCNA is stabilized in CAPNS1-depleted U2OS cells and mouse embryonic fibroblasts (MEFs), favoring polymerase-η loading on chromatin and increased mutagenesis. USP1 degradation directed by the cell cycle regulator APC/C(cdh1), which marks USP1 for destruction in the G1 phase, is upregulated in CAPNS1-depleted cells. USP1 stability can be rescued upon forced expression of calpain-activated Cdk5/p25, previously reported as a cdh1 repressor. These data suggest that calpain stabilizes USP1 by activating Cdk5, which in turn inhibits cdh1 and, consequently, USP1 degradation. Altogether these findings point to a connection between the calpain system and the ubiquitin pathway in the regulation of DNA damage response and place calpain at the interface between cell cycle modulation and DNA repair.

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