The replication clamp PCNA is loaded around DNA by replication factor C (RFC) and functions in DNA replication and repair. Regulated unloading of PCNA during the progression and termination of DNA replication may require additional factors. Here we show that a Saccharomyces cerevisiae complex required for the establishment of sister chromatid cohesion functions as an efficient unloader of PCNA. Unloading requires ATP hydrolysis. This seven-subunit Ctf18-RFC complex consists of the four small subunits of RFC, together with Ctf18, Dcc1, and Ctf8. Ctf18-RFC was also a weak loader of PCNA onto naked template-primer DNA. However, when the single-stranded DNA template was coated by the yeast single-stranded DNA binding protein replication protein A (RPA) but not by a mutant form of RPA or a heterologous single-stranded DNA binding protein, both binding of Ctf18-RFC to substrate DNA and loading of PCNA were strongly inhibited, and unloading predominated. Neither yeast RFC itself nor two other related clamp loaders, containing either Rad24 or Elg1, catalyzed significant unloading of PCNA. The Dcc1 and Ctf8 subunits of Ctf18-RFC, while required for establishing sister chromatid cohesion in vivo, did not function specifically in PCNA unloading in vitro, thereby separating the functionality of the Ctf18-RFC complex into two distinct paths.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5445-5455
Number of pages11
JournalMolecular and cellular biology
Issue number13
StatePublished - Jul 2005


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