Nucleic acids research

HERC2/USP20 coordinates CHK1 activation by modulating CLASPIN stability.

PMID 25326330


CLASPIN is an essential mediator in the DNA replication checkpoint, responsible for ATR (ataxia telangiectasia and Rad3-related protein)-dependent activation of CHK1 (checkpoint kinase 1). Here we found a dynamic signaling pathway that regulates CLASPIN turn over. Under unperturbed conditions, the E3 ubiquitin ligase HERC2 regulates the stability of the deubiquitinating enzyme USP20 by promoting ubiquitination-mediated proteasomal degradation. Under replication stress, ATR-mediated phosphorylation of USP20 results in the disassociation of HERC2 from USP20. USP20 in turn deubiquitinates K48-linked-polyubiquitinated CLASPIN, stabilizing CLASPIN and ultimately promoting CHK1 phosphorylation and CHK1-directed checkpoint activation. Inhibition of USP20 expression promotes chromosome instability and xenograft tumor growth. Taken together, our findings demonstrated a novel function of HERC2/USP20 in coordinating CHK1 activation by modulating CLASPIN stability, which ultimately promotes genome stability and suppresses tumor growth.