Projects per year
The Fanconi anemia pathway for DNA interstrand crosslink repair and the translesion synthesis pathway for DNA damage tolerance both require cycles of monoubiquitination and deubiquitination. The ubiquitin-specific protease-1 (USP1), in complex with USP1-associated factor 1, regulates multiple DNA repair pathways by deubiquitinating monoubiquitinated Fanconi anemia group D2 protein (FANCD2), Fanconi anemia group I protein (FANCI), and proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA). Loss of USP1 activity gives rise to chromosomal instability. Whereas many USPs hydrolyse ubiquitin-ubiquitin linkages, USP1 targets ubiquitin-substrate conjugates at specific sites. The molecular basis of USP1's specificity for multiple substrates is poorly understood. Here, we reconstitute deubiquitination of purified monoubiquitinated FANCD2, FANCI, and PCNA and show that molecular determinants for substrate deubiquitination by USP1 reside within the highly conserved and extended N-terminus. We found that the N-terminus of USP1 harbours a FANCD2-specific binding sequence required for deubiquitination of K561 on FANCD2. In contrast, the N-terminus is not required for direct PCNA or FANCI deubiquitination. Furthermore, we show that the N-terminus of USP1 is sufficient to engineer specificity in a more promiscuous USP.