Human ANKLE1 is a nuclease specific for branched DNA

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)
75 Downloads (Pure)


All physical connections between sister chromatids must be broken before cells can divide, and eukaryotic cells have evolved multiple ways in which to process branchpoints connecting DNA molecules separated both spatially and temporally. A single DNA link between chromatids has the potential to disrupt cell cycle progression and genome integrity, so it is highly likely that cells require a nuclease that can process remaining unresolved and hemi-resolved DNA junctions and other branched species at the very late stages of mitosis. We argue that ANKLE1 probably serves this function in human cells (LEM-3 in Caenorhabditis elegans). LEM-3 has previously been shown to be located at the cell mid-body, and we show here that human ANKLE1 is a nuclease that cleaves a range of branched DNA species. It thus has the substrate selectivity consistent with an enzyme required to process a variety of unresolved and hemi-resolved branchpoints in DNA. Our results suggest that ANKLE1 acts as a catch-all enzyme of last resort that allows faithful chromosome segregation and cell division to occur.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5825-5834
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Molecular Biology
Issue number21
Early online date28 Aug 2020
Publication statusPublished - 2 Oct 2020


  • chromosome segregation
  • helical junction resolution
  • ultrafine DNA bridges
  • LEM-3

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Structural Biology


Dive into the research topics of 'Human ANKLE1 is a nuclease specific for branched DNA'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this