Proteins with annealing activity are newly identified ATP-dependent motors that can rewind RPA-coated complementary single-stranded DNA bubbles. AH2 (annealing helicase 2, also named as ZRANB3) is the second protein with annealing activity, the function of which is still unknown. Here, we report that AH2 is recruited to stalled replication forks and that cells depleted of AH2 are hypersensitive to replication stresses. Furthermore, AH2 binds to PCNA, which is crucial for its function at stalled replication forks. Interestingly, we identified a HARP-like (HPL) domain in AH2 that is indispensible for its annealing activity in vitro and its function in vivo. Moreover, searching of HPL domain in SNF2 family of proteins led to the identification of SMARCA1 and RAD54L, both of which possess annealing activity. Thus, this study not only demonstrates the in vivo functions of AH2, but also reveals a common feature of this new subfamily of proteins with annealing activity.
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