Nature communications

Cullin3-KLHL15 ubiquitin ligase mediates CtIP protein turnover to fine-tune DNA-end resection.

PMID 27561354


Human CtIP is a decisive factor in DNA double-strand break repair pathway choice by enabling DNA-end resection, the first step that differentiates homologous recombination (HR) from non-homologous end-joining (NHEJ). To coordinate appropriate and timely execution of DNA-end resection, CtIP function is tightly controlled by multiple protein-protein interactions and post-translational modifications. Here, we identify the Cullin3 E3 ligase substrate adaptor Kelch-like protein 15 (KLHL15) as a new interaction partner of CtIP and show that KLHL15 promotes CtIP protein turnover via the ubiquitin-proteasome pathway. A tripeptide motif (FRY) conserved across vertebrate CtIP proteins is essential for KLHL15-binding; its mutation blocks KLHL15-dependent CtIP ubiquitination and degradation. Consequently, DNA-end resection is strongly attenuated in cells overexpressing KLHL15 but amplified in cells either expressing a CtIP-FRY mutant or lacking KLHL15, thus impacting the balance between HR and NHEJ. Collectively, our findings underline the key importance and high complexity of CtIP modulation for genome integrity.