Fission yeast Ku protein is required for recovery from DNA replication stress

Genes Cells. 2009 Sep;14(9):1091-103. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2443.2009.01337.x. Epub 2009 Aug 13.


The fundamental function of the conserved Ku70-Ku80 heterodimer is to promote the non-homologous end-joining (NHEJ) pathway in double-strand break repair. Although it is thought that Ku plays several roles other than NHEJ in maintaining chromosomal integrity including telomere protection, these precise functions remain unclear. In this study, we describe a novel role of fission yeast Ku proteins encoded by pku70(+) and pku80(+) genes in dealing with DNA replication stress. In the absence of Rqh1, the fission yeast RecQ helicase, the cells are sensitive to reagents inducing replication stress. pkuDeltarqh1Delta double mutant showed synergistic sensitivities to these reagents. However, this synthetic phenotype was not observed when rqh1Delta mutant was coupled with the deletion of lig4(+) that encodes a ligase essential for NHEJ, indicating that the role of Ku in replication stress is NHEJ independent. pkuDeltarqh1Delta double mutant also showed highly variable copy numbers of rDNA repeats even under unstressed condition. Furthermore, the double mutant exhibited inefficient replication resumption after transient replication stalling. These results suggest the possibility that Ku proteins play an important role in genome integrity recovering replication stress.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • DNA Helicases / genetics
  • DNA Helicases / metabolism
  • DNA Repair
  • DNA Repair Enzymes
  • DNA Replication*
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / metabolism*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Fungal
  • Heat-Shock Response*
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae Proteins
  • Schizosaccharomyces / genetics
  • Schizosaccharomyces / growth & development
  • Schizosaccharomyces / metabolism
  • Schizosaccharomyces pombe Proteins / genetics
  • Schizosaccharomyces pombe Proteins / metabolism*
  • Telomere / metabolism


  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • NHEJ1 protein, human
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae Proteins
  • Schizosaccharomyces pombe Proteins
  • high affinity DNA-binding factor, S cerevisiae
  • DNA Helicases
  • Rqh1 protein, S pombe
  • DNA Repair Enzymes