RNF4-Dependent Hybrid SUMO-Ubiquitin Chains Are Signals for RAP80 and Thereby Mediate the Recruitment of BRCA1 to Sites of DNA Damage

Sci. Signal., 4 December 2012
Vol. 5, Issue 253, p. ra88
DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.2003485

RNF4-Dependent Hybrid SUMO-Ubiquitin Chains Are Signals for RAP80 and Thereby Mediate the Recruitment of BRCA1 to Sites of DNA Damage

  1. Catherine M. Guzzo1,
  2. Christopher E. Berndsen2,*,
  3. Jianmei Zhu1,
  4. Vibhor Gupta3,
  5. Ajit Datta2,,
  6. Roger A. Greenberg3,
  7. Cynthia Wolberger2, and
  8. Michael J. Matunis1,
  1. 1Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD 21205, USA.
  2. 2Department of Biophysics and Biophysical Chemistry and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD 21205, USA.
  3. 3Department of Cancer Biology and Department of Pathology, Abramson Family Cancer Research Institute, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA.
  1. To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: mmatunis{at}jhsph.edu
  • * Present address: Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA 22807, USA.

  • Present address: Department of Biochemistry, Bose Institute, P-1/12 CIT Scheme VIIM, Kolkata 700054, India.


The DNA repair function of the breast cancer susceptibility protein BRCA1 depends in part on its interaction with RAP80, which targets BRCA1 to DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs) through recognition of K63-linked polyubiquitin chains. The localization of BRCA1 to DSBs also requires sumoylation. We demonstrated that, in addition to having ubiquitin-interacting motifs, RAP80 also contains a SUMO-interacting motif (SIM) that is critical for recruitment to DSBs. In combination with the ubiquitin-binding activity of RAP80, this SIM enabled RAP80 to bind with nanomolar affinity to hybrid chains consisting of ubiquitin conjugated to SUMO. Furthermore, RNF4, a SUMO-targeted ubiquitin E3 ligase that synthesizes hybrid SUMO-ubiquitin chains, localized to DSBs and was critical for the recruitment of RAP80 and BRCA1 to sites of DNA damage. Our findings, therefore, connect ubiquitin- and SUMO-dependent DSB recognition, revealing that RNF4-synthesized hybrid SUMO-ubiquitin chains are recognized by RAP80 to promote BRCA1 recruitment and DNA repair.


C. M. Guzzo, C. E. Berndsen, J. Zhu, V. Gupta, A. Datta, R. A. Greenberg, C. Wolberger, and M. J. Matunis, RNF4-Dependent Hybrid SUMO-Ubiquitin Chains Are Signals for RAP80 and Thereby Mediate the Recruitment of BRCA1 to Sites of DNA Damage. Sci. Signal. 5, ra88 (2012).

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