MUS81-EME1 is a conserved structure-selective endonuclease with a preference for branched DNA substrates in vitro that correspond to intermediates of DNA repair. Cells lacking MUS81 or EME1 show defects in the repair of DNA interstrand crosslinks (ICL) resulting in hypersensitivity to agents such as mitomycin C. In metazoans, a proportion of cellular MUS81-EME1 binds the SLX4 scaffold protein, which is itself instrumental for ICL repair. It was previously reported that mutations in SLX4 that abolished interaction with MUS81 affected ICL repair in human cells but not in murine cells. In this study we looked the other way around by pinpointing amino acid residues in MUS81 that when mutated abolish the interaction with SLX4. These mutations fully rescued the mitomycin C hypersensitivity of MUS81 knockout murine cells, but they were unable to rescue the sensitivity of two different human cell lines defective in MUS81. These data support an SLX4-dependent role for MUS81 in the repair, but not the induction of ICL-induced double-strand breaks. This study sheds light on the extent to which MUS81 function in ICL repair requires interaction with SLX4.
Nair, N., Castor, D., Macartney, T., & Rouse, J. (2014). Identification and characterization of MUS81 point mutations that abolish interaction with the SLX4 scaffold protein. DNA Repair, 24, 131-137. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.dnarep.2014.08.004