The FEN1 nuclease functions during Okazaki fragment maturation in the eukaryotic cell. Like many other proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA)-binding proteins, FEN1 interacts with the interdomain connector loop (IDCL) of PCNA, and PCNA greatly stimulates FEN1 activity. A yeast IDCL mutant pcna-79 (IL126,128AA) failed to interact with FEN-1, but, surprisingly, pcna-79 was still very active in stimulating FEN1 activity. In contrast, a C-terminal mutant pcna-90 (PK252,253AA) showed wild-type binding to FEN1 in solution, but poorly stimulated FEN1 activity. When PCNA was loaded onto a DNA substrate coupled to magnetic beads, it stabilized retention of FEN1 on the DNA. In this DNA-dependent binding assay, pcna-79 also stabilized retention of FEN1, but pcna-90 was inactive. Therefore, in the absence of DNA, FEN1 interacts with PCNA mainly through the IDCL. However, when PCNA encircles the DNA, the C-terminal domain of PCNA rather than its IDCL is important for binding FEN1. An FF→GA mutation in the PCNA-interaction domain of FEN1 severely decreased both modes of interaction with PCNA and resulted in replication and repair defects in vivo.
- DNA replication
- FEN 1