• Authors: Helfricht, A., Wiegant, W. W., Thijssen, P. E., Vertegaal, A. C., Luijsterburg, M. S., van Attikum, H.
  • Year: 2013
  • Journal: Cell Cycle 12 3070-82
  • Applications: in vitro / DNA / jetPEI
  • Cell types:
    1. Name: HEK-293
      Description: Human embryonic kidney Fibroblast
      Known as: HEK293, 293
    2. Name: U-2 OS
      Description: Human bone osteosarcoma
      Known as: U2OS


The cellular response to ionizing radiation (IR)-induced DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs) in native chromatin requires a tight coordination between the activities of DNA repair machineries and factors that modulate chromatin structure. SMARCA5 is an ATPase of the SNF2 family of chromatin remodeling factors that has recently been implicated in the DSB response. It forms distinct chromatin remodeling complexes with several non-canonical subunits, including the remodeling and spacing factor 1 (RSF1) protein. Despite the fact that RSF1 is often overexpressed in tumors and linked to tumorigenesis and genome instability, its role in the DSB response remains largely unclear. Here we show that RSF1 accumulates at DSB sites and protects human cells against IR-induced DSBs by promoting repair of these lesions through homologous recombination (HR) and non-homologous end-joining (NHEJ). Although SMARCA5 regulates the RNF168-dependent ubiquitin response that targets BRCA1 to DSBs, we found RSF1 to be dispensable for this process. Conversely, we found that RSF1 facilitates the assembly of centromere proteins CENP-S and CENP-X at sites of DNA damage, while SMARCA5 was not required for these events. Mechanistically, we uncovered that CENP-S and CENP-X, upon their incorporation by RSF1, promote assembly of the NHEJ factor XRCC4 at damaged chromatin. In contrast, CENP-S and CENP-X were dispensable for HR, suggesting that RSF1 regulates HR independently of these centromere proteins. Our findings reveal distinct functions of RSF1 in the 2 major pathways of DSB repair and explain how RSF1, through the loading of centromere proteins and XRCC4 at DSBs, promotes repair by non-homologous end-joining.