Acetylation of PCNA Sliding Surface by Eco1 Promotes Genome Stability through Homologous Recombination

Pierre Billon, Jian Li, Jean Philippe Lambert, Yizhang Chen, Véronique Tremblay, Joseph S. Brunzelle, Anne Claude Gingras, Alain Verreault, Tomohiko Sugiyama, Jean Francois Couture, Jacques Côté*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


During DNA replication, proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA) adopts a ring-shaped structure to promote processive DNA synthesis, acting as a sliding clamp for polymerases. Known posttranslational modifications function at the outer surface of the PCNA ring to favor DNA damage bypass. Here, we demonstrate that acetylation of lysine residues at the inner surface of PCNA is induced by DNA lesions. We show that cohesin acetyltransferase Eco1 targets lysine 20 at the sliding surface of the PCNA ring in vitro and in vivo in response to DNA damage. Mimicking constitutive acetylation stimulates homologous recombination and robustly suppresses the DNA damage sensitivity of mutations in damage tolerance pathways. In comparison to the unmodified trimer, structural differences are observed at the interface between protomers in the crystal structure of the PCNA-K20ac ring. Thus, acetylation regulates PCNA sliding on DNA in the presence of DNA damage, favoring homologous recombination linked to sister-chromatid cohesion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)78-90
Number of pages13
JournalMolecular cell
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 5 2017


  • DNA polymerases
  • Eco1
  • PCNA
  • homologous recombination
  • lysine acetylation
  • translesion synthesis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology

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