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Eukaryotic single-stranded dna binding proteins: Central factors in genome stability

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The single-stranded DNA binding proteins (SSBs) are required to maintain the integrity of the genome in all organisms. Replication protein A (RPA) is a nuclear SSB protein found in all eukaryotes and is required for multiple processes in DNA metabolism such as DNA replication, DNA repair, DNA recombination, telomere maintenance and DNA damage signalling. RPA is a heterotrimeric complex, binds ssDNA with high affinity, and interacts specifically with multiple proteins to fulfill its function in eukaryotes. RPA is phosphorylated in a cell cycle and DNA damage-dependent manner with evidence suggesting that phosphoryla-tion has an important function in modulating the cellular DNA damage response. Considering the DNA-binding properties of RPA a mechanism of “molecular counting” to initiate DNA damage-dependent signalling is discussed. Recently a human homologue to the RPA2 subunit, called RPA4, was discovered and RPA4 can substitute for RPA2 in the RPA complex resulting in an “alternative” RPA (aRPA), which can bind to ssDNA with similar affinity as canonical RPA. Additional human SSBs, hSSB1 and hSSB2, were recently identified, with hSSB1 being localized in the nucleus and having implications in DNA repair. Mitochondrial SSBs (mtSSBs) have been found in all eukaryotes studied. mtSSBs are related to prokaryotic SSBs and essential to main the genome stability in eukaryotic mitochondria. Recently human mtSSB was identified as a novel binding partner of p53 and that it is able to stimulate the intrinsic exonuclease activity of p53. These findings and recent results associated with mutations in RPA suggest a link of SSBs to cancer.




Broderick, S., Rehmet, K., Concannon, C., & Nasheuer, H. P. (2010). Eukaryotic single-stranded dna binding proteins: Central factors in genome stability. Sub-Cellular Biochemistry, 50, 143–163.

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