The primase/polymerase PRIMPOL restarts DNA synthesis when replication is arrested by template impediments. However, we do not have a comprehensive view of how PRIMPOL-dependent repriming integrates with the main pathways of damage tolerance, REV1-dependent 'on-the-fly' lesion bypass at the fork and PCNA ubiquitination-dependent post-replicative gap filling. Guided by genome-wide CRISPR/Cas9 screens to survey the genetic interactions of PRIMPOL in a non-transformed and p53-proficient human cell line, we find that PRIMPOL is needed for cell survival following loss of the Y-family polymerases REV1 and POLη in a lesion-dependent manner, while it plays a broader role in promoting survival of cells lacking PCNA K164-dependent post-replicative gap filling. Thus, while REV1- and PCNA K164R-bypass provide two layers of protection to ensure effective damage tolerance, PRIMPOL is required to maximise the effectiveness of the interaction between them. We propose this is through the restriction of post-replicative gap length provided by PRIMPOL-dependent repriming.
© The Author(s) 2023. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Nucleic Acids Research.