USP7/HAUSP: A SUMO deubiquitinase at the heart of DNA replication

Bioessays. 2016 Sep;38(9):863-8. doi: 10.1002/bies.201600096. Epub 2016 Jul 4.


DNA replication is both highly conserved and controlled. Problematic DNA replication can lead to genomic instability and therefore carcinogenesis. Numerous mechanisms work together to achieve this tight control and increasing evidence suggests that post-translational modifications (phosphorylation, ubiquitination, SUMOylation) of DNA replication proteins play a pivotal role in this process. Here we discuss such modifications in the light of a recent article that describes a novel role for the deubiquitinase (DUB) USP7/HAUSP in the control of DNA replication. USP7 achieves this function by an unusual and novel mechanism, namely deubiquitination of SUMOylated proteins at the replication fork, making USP7 also a SUMO DUB (SDUB). This work extends previous observations of increased levels of SUMO and low levels of ubiquitin at the on-going replication fork. Here, we discuss this novel study, its contribution to the DNA replication and genomic stability field and what questions arise from this work.

Keywords: DNA replication; DUBs; SUMO; USP7; post-translational modifications; ubiquitin.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • DNA Replication*
  • Genomic Instability*
  • Sumoylation
  • Ubiquitin Thiolesterase / metabolism*


  • Ubiquitin Thiolesterase