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Oncogene. 1997 May 15;14(19):2313-21.

Homologous regions of Fen1 and p21Cip1 compete for binding to the same site on PCNA: a potential mechanism to co-ordinate DNA replication and repair.

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Department Anatomy and Physiology, University of Dundee, UK.


Following genomic damage, the cessation of DNA replication is co-ordinated with onset of DNA repair; this co-ordination is essential to avoid mutation and genomic instability. To investigate these phenomena, we have analysed proteins that interact with PCNA, which is required for both DNA replication and repair. One such protein is p21Cip1, which inhibits DNA replication through its interaction with PCNA, while allowing repair to continue. We have identified an interaction between PCNA and the structure specific nuclease, Fen1, which is involved in DNA replication. Deletion analysis suggests that p21Cip1 and Fen1 bind to the same region of PCNA. Within Fen1 and its homologues a small region (10 amino acids) is sufficient for PCNA binding, which contains an 8 amino acid conserved PCNA-binding motif. This motif shares critical residues with the PCNA-binding region of p21Cip1. A PCNA binding peptide from p21Cip1 competes with Fen1 peptides for binding to PCNA, disrupts the Fen1-PCNA complex in replicating cell extracts, and concomitantly inhibits DNA synthesis. Competition between homologous regions of Fen1 and p21Cip1 for binding to the same site on PCNA may provide a mechanism to co-ordinate the functions of PCNA in DNA replication and repair.

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