NYMC Faculty Publications


The DHX9 Helicase Interacts With Human DNA Polymerase Δ4 and Stimulates Its Activity in D-Loop Extension Synthesis

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Biochemistry and Molecular Biology


The extension of the invading strand within a displacement loop (D-loop) is a key step in homology directed repair (HDR) of doubled stranded DNA breaks. The primary goal of these studies was to test the hypotheses that 1) D-loop extension by human DNA polymerase δ4 (Pol δ4) is facilitated by DHX9, a 3' to 5' motor helicase, which acts to unwind the leading edge of the D-loop, and 2) the recruitment of DHX9 is mediated by direct protein-protein interactions between DHX9 and Pol δ4 and/or PCNA. DNA synthesis by Pol δ4 was analyzed in a reconstitution assay by the extension of a 93mer oligonucleotide inserted into a plasmid to form a D-loop. Product formation by Pol δ4 was monitored by incorporation of [α-P]dNTPs into the 93mer primer followed by denaturing gel electrophoresis. The results showed that DHX9 strongly stimulated Pol δ4 mediated D-loop extension. Direct interactions of DHX9 with PCNA, the p125 and the p12 subunits of Pol δ4 were demonstrated by pull-down assays with purified proteins. These data support the hypothesis that DHX9 helicase is recruited by Pol δ4/PCNA to facilitate D-loop synthesis in HDR, and is a participant in cellular HDR. The involvement of DHX9 in HDR represents an important addition to its multiple cellular roles. Such helicase-polymerase interactions may represent an important aspect of the mechanisms involved in D-loop primer extension synthesis in HDR.