N-terminal sequences are important sites for post-translational modifications that alter protein localization, activity, and stability. Dipeptidyl peptidase 9 (DPP9) is a serine aminopeptidase with the rare ability to cleave off N-terminal dipeptides with imino acid proline in the second position. Here, we identify the tumor-suppressor BRCA2 as a DPP9 substrate and show this interaction to be induced by DNA damage. We present crystallographic structures documenting intracrystalline enzymatic activity of DPP9, with the N-terminal Met1-Pro2 of a BRCA21-40 peptide captured in its active site. Intriguingly, DPP9-depleted cells are hypersensitive to genotoxic agents and are impaired in the repair of DNA double-strand breaks by homologous recombination. Mechanistically, DPP9 targets BRCA2 for degradation and promotes the formation of RAD51 foci, the downstream function of BRCA2. N-terminal truncation mutants of BRCA2 that mimic a DPP9 product phenocopy reduced BRCA2 stability and rescue RAD51 foci formation in DPP9-deficient cells. Taken together, we present DPP9 as a regulator of BRCA2 stability and propose that by fine-tuning the cellular concentrations of BRCA2, DPP9 alters the BRCA2 interactome, providing a possible explanation for DPP9's role in cancer.
Keywords: BRCA2; DNA repair; DPP9; N-degron; proteolysis.
© 2022 The Authors. Published under the terms of the CC BY NC ND 4.0 license.