The DNA-dependent protease AtWSS1A suppresses persistent double strand break formation during replication

New Phytol. 2022 Feb;233(3):1172-1187. doi: 10.1111/nph.17848. Epub 2021 Nov 29.


The protease WSS1A is an important factor in the repair of DNA-protein crosslinks in plants. Here we show that the loss of WSS1A leads to a reduction of 45S rDNA repeats and chromosomal fragmentation in Arabidopsis. Moreover, in the absence of any factor of the RTR (RECQ4A/TOP3α/RMI1/2) complex, which is involved in the dissolution of DNA replication intermediates, WSS1A becomes essential for viability. If WSS1A loss is combined with loss of the classical (c) or alternative (a) nonhomologous end joining (NHEJ) pathways of double-strand break (DSB) repair, the resulting mutants show proliferation defects and enhanced chromosome fragmentation, which is especially aggravated in the absence of aNHEJ. This indicates that WSS1A is involved either in the suppression of DSB formation or in DSB repair itself. To test the latter we induced DSB by CRISPR/Cas9 at different loci in wild-type and mutant cells and analyzed their repair by deep sequencing. However, no change in the quality of the repair events and only a slight increase in their quantity was found. Thus, by removing complex DNA-protein structures, WSS1A seems to be required for the repair of replication intermediates which would otherwise be resolved into persistent DSB leading to genome instability.

Keywords: Arabidopsis thaliana; CRISPR/Cas9; DNA replication; DNA-protein crosslink repair; RTR complex; nonhomologous end joining; polymerase Q; topoisomerase 2.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Arabidopsis Proteins* / genetics
  • Arabidopsis Proteins* / metabolism
  • Arabidopsis* / genetics
  • Arabidopsis* / metabolism
  • DNA
  • DNA End-Joining Repair
  • DNA Repair
  • Peptide Hydrolases / metabolism


  • Arabidopsis Proteins
  • DNA
  • Peptide Hydrolases