The roles of fission yeast exonuclease 5 in nuclear and mitochondrial genome stability

DNA Repair (Amst). 2019 Nov;83:102720. doi: 10.1016/j.dnarep.2019.102720. Epub 2019 Sep 21.


The Exo5 family consists of bi-directional, single-stranded DNA-specific exonucleases that contain an iron-sulfur cluster as a structural motif and have multiple roles in DNA metabolism. S. cerevisiae Exo5 is essential for mitochondrial genome maintenance, while the human ortholog is important for nuclear genome stability and DNA repair. Here, we identify the Exo5 ortholog in Schizosaccharomyes pombe (spExo5). The activity of spExo5 is highly similar to that of the human enzyme. When the single-stranded DNA is coated with single-stranded DNA binding protein RPA, spExo5 become a 5'-specific exonuclease. Exo5Δ mutants are sensitive to various DNA damaging agents, particularly interstrand crosslinking agents. An epistasis analysis places exo5+ in the Fanconi pathway for interstrand crosslink repair. Exo5+ is in a redundant pathway with rad2+, which encodes the flap endonuclease FEN1, for mitochondrial genome maintenance. Deletion of both genes lead to severe depletion of the mitochondrial genome, and defects in respiration, indicating that either spExo5 or spFEN1 is necessary for mitochondrial DNA metabolism.

Keywords: Exo5; Exonuclease; Fission yeast; Interstrand crosslink repair; Mitochondrial replication.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Active Transport, Cell Nucleus
  • Cell Nucleus / genetics*
  • Cell Nucleus / metabolism
  • DNA Repair
  • DNA, Mitochondrial / genetics
  • DNA, Mitochondrial / metabolism
  • Exonucleases / metabolism*
  • Genome, Mitochondrial / genetics*
  • Genomic Instability*
  • Humans
  • Proliferating Cell Nuclear Antigen / metabolism
  • Replication Protein A / metabolism
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / cytology
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / enzymology*
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / genetics*


  • DNA, Mitochondrial
  • Proliferating Cell Nuclear Antigen
  • Replication Protein A
  • Exonucleases
  • exonuclease 5, human