Conjugation of human topoisomerase 2 alpha with small ubiquitin-like modifiers 2/3 in response to topoisomerase inhibitors: cell cycle stage and chromosome domain specificity

Marta Agostinho, Vera Santos, Fernando Ferreira, Rafael Costa, Joana Cardoso, Ines Pinheiro, Jose Rino, Ellis Jaffray, Ronald T. Hay, Joao Ferreira

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    Type 2 topoisomerases, in particular the alpha isoform in human cells, play a key role in cohesion and sister chromatid separation during mitosis. These enzymes are thus vital for cycling cells and are obvious targets in cancer chemotherapy. Evidence obtained in yeast and Xenopus model systems indicates that conjugation of topoisomerase 2 with small ubiquitin-like modifier (SUMO) proteins is required for its mitotic functions. Here, we provide biochemical and cytologic evidence that topoisomerase 2 alpha is conjugated to SUMO-2/3 during interphase and mitosis in response to topoisomerase 2 inhibitors and "poisons" (ICRF-187, etoposide, doxorubicin) that stabilize catalytic intermediates (cleavage complexes, closed clamp forms) of the enzyme onto target DNA. During mitosis, SUMO-2/3-modified forms of topoisomerase 2 alpha localize to centromeres and chromosome cores/axes. However, centromeres are unresponsive to inhibitors during interphase. Furthermore, formation of topoisomerase 2 alpha-SUMO-2/3 conjugates within mitotic chromosomes strongly correlates with incomplete chromatid decatenation and decreases progressively as cells approach the metaphase-anaphase transition. We also found that the PIASy protein, an E3 ligase for SUMO proteins, colocalizes with SUMO-2/3 at the mitotic chromosomal cores/axes and is necessary for both formation of SUMO-2/3 conjugates and proper chromatid segregation. We suggest that the efficacy of topoisomerase inhibitors to arrest cells traversing mitosis may relate to their targeting of topoisomerase 2 alpha-SUMO-2/3 conjugates that concentrate at mitotic chromosome axes and are directly involved in chromatid arm separation.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)2409-2418
    Number of pages10
    JournalCancer Research
    Issue number7
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2008


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