The SUMO Ligase PIAS3 Primes ATR for Checkpoint Activation [Signal Transduction]

November 12th, 2015 by Wu, C.-S., Zou, L.

The maintenance of genomic stability relies on the concerted action of DNA repair and DNA damage signaling pathways. The PIAS (protein inhibitor of activated STAT) family of SUMO (small ubiquitin-like modifier) ligases has been implicated in DNA repair, but whether it plays role in DNA damage signaling is still unclear. Here, we show that the PIAS3 SUMO ligase is important for activation of the ATR (ataxia telangiectasia and Rad3 related)-regulated DNA damage signaling pathway. PIAS3 is the only member of the PIAS family that is indispensable for ATR activation. In response to different types of DNA damage and replication stress, PIAS3 plays multiple roles in ATR activation. In cells treated with camptothecin (CPT), PIAS3 contributes to formation of DNA double-stranded breaks. In UV (ultraviolet light) or HU (hydroxyurea) treated cells, PIAS3 is required for efficient ATR autophosphorylation, one of the earliest events during ATR activation. Although PIAS3 is dispensable for ATRIP (ATR-interacting protein) SUMOylation and the ATR-ATRIP interaction, it is required for maintaining the basal kinase activity of ATR prior to DNA damage. In the absence of PIAS3, ATR fails to display normal kinase activity after DNA damage, which accompanies with reduced phosphorylation of ATR substrates. Together, these results suggest that PIAS3 primes ATR for checkpoint activation by sustaining its basal kinase activity, revealing a new function of the PIAS family in DNA damage signaling.