DNA damage response signaling is crucial for genome maintenance in all organisms and is corrupted in cancer. In an RNA interference (RNAi) screen for (de)ubiquitinases and sumoylases modulating the apoptotic response of embryonic stem (ES) cells to DNA damage, we identified the E3 ubiquitin ligase/ISGylase, ariadne homologue 1 (ARIH1). Silencing ARIH1 sensitized ES and cancer cells to genotoxic compounds and ionizing radiation, irrespective of their p53 or caspase-3 status. Expression of wild-type but not ubiquitinase-defective ARIH1 constructs prevented sensitization caused by ARIH1 knockdown. ARIH1 protein abundance increased after DNA damage through attenuation of proteasomal degradation that required ATM signaling. Accumulated ARIH1 associated with 4EHP, and in turn, this competitive inhibitor of the eukaryotic translation initiation factor 4E (eIF4E) underwent increased nondegradative ubiquitination upon DNA damage. Genotoxic stress led to an enrichment of ARIH1 in perinuclear, ribosome-containing regions and triggered 4EHP association with the mRNA 5' cap as well as mRNA translation arrest in an ARIH1-dependent manner. Finally, restoration of DNA damage-induced translation arrest in ARIH1-depleted cells by means of an eIF2 inhibitor was sufficient to reinstate resistance to genotoxic stress. These findings identify ARIH1 as a potent mediator of DNA damage-induced translation arrest that protects stem and cancer cells against genotoxic stress.
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