Replication forks frequently stall at regions of the genome that are difficult to replicate or contain lesions that cause replication blockage. An important mechanism for the restart of a stalled fork involves endonucleolytic cleavage that can lead to fork restoration and replication progression. Here, we show that the structure-selective endonuclease MUS81-EME2 is responsible for fork cleavage and restart in human cells. The MUS81-EME2 protein, whose actions are restricted to S phase, is also responsible for telomere maintenance in telomerase-negative ALT (Alternative Lengthening of Telomeres) cells. In contrast, the G2/M functions of MUS81, such as the cleavage of recombination intermediates and fragile site expression, are promoted by MUS81-EME1. These results define distinct and temporal roles for MUS81-EME1 and MUS81-EME2 in the maintenance of genome stability.
Copyright © 2014 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.