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Title: The cell cycle and DNA damage-dependent regulation of Cdt1 in schizosaccharomyces pombe
Author: Shepherd, Marianne E. A.
ISNI:       0000 0004 2745 6518
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2012
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Cdt1 is a conserved and essential eukaryotic protein that is required for the licensing step of DNA replication. In order to control replication licensing and ensure a single round of DNA replication occurs per cell cycle, Cdt1 is subject to strict regulation. In Metazoa and S. pombe, Cdt1 is targeted for ubiquitylation and proteolysis in S phase and after DNA damage by the CRL4Cdt2 ubiquitin ligase. CRL4Cdt2 is activated in Metazoa by an unusual mechanism that requires an interaction between the substrate and chromatin-loaded proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA). This study addressed the involvement of PCNA in S. pombe Cdt1 proteolysis. A mutational analysis was undertaken to establish whether the Cdt1-PCNA interaction is conserved in S. pombe and the extent to which it regulates CRL4Cdt2-dependent turnover of the protein. S. pombe Cdt1 was shown to interact with PCNA in vivo and two variant PCNA-interacting peptide (PIP) motifs were identified in the protein. The two motifs function near-redundantly to promote both the Cdt1-PCNA interaction and the CRL4Cdt2-dependent proteolysis of Cdt1 in S phase and after DNA damage. The mutational analysis also resulted in the characterisation of two in-frame AUG codons in the cdt1+ reading frame. The second in-frame AUG codon was shown to be the principal initiator codon and was required to maintain wildtype Cdt1 protein levels and cell viability. CRL4Cdt2 is emerging as an important regulator of proteins that are involved in the control of cell cycle progression and the maintenance of genome stability. However, there are a number of outstanding questions regarding the mechanism and regulation of CRL4Cdt2. In order to address these questions, a genomics approach was taken to identify novel genes involved in Cdt1 regulation. A screen of non-essential S. pombe genes identified 17 candidate genes that, when inactivated, caused up-regulation of Cdt1. Unexpectedly, deletion of genes involved in homologous recombination resulted in a Rad3-dependent up-regulation of Cdt1. Further work is required to establish the biological significance of this finding.
Supervisor: Kearsey, Stephen E. Sponsor: Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Biology ; Genetics (life sciences) ; Molecular biology ; DNA replication ; DNA repair ; Schizosaccharomyces pombe