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RECQ-like helicases Sgs1 and BLM regulate R-loop associated genome instability
Chang EY, Novoa CA, Aristizabal MJ, Coulombe Y, Segovia R, Chaturvedi R, Shen Y, Keong C, Tam AS, Jones SJM, Masson JY, Kobor MS & Stirling PC. RECQ-like helicases Sgs1 and BLM regulate R-loop associated genome instability. J Cell Biol [Epub ahead of print].
Sgs1, the orthologue of human Bloom’s syndrome helicase BLM, is a yeast DNA helicase functioning in DNA replication and repair. We show that SGS1 loss increases R-loop accumulation and sensitizes cells to transcription-replication collisions. Yeast lacking SGS1 accumulate R-loops and γ-H2A at sites of Sgs1 binding, replication pausing regions, and long genes. The mutation signature of sgs1Δ reveals copy number changes flanked by repetitive regions with high R-loop-forming potential. Analysis of BLM in Bloom’s syndrome fibroblasts or by depletion of BLM from human cancer cells confirms a role for Sgs1/BLM in suppressing R-loop-associated genome instability across species. In support of a potential direct effect, BLM is found physically proximal to DNA:RNA hybrids in human cells, and can efficiently unwind R-loops in vitro. Together, our data describe a conserved role for Sgs1/BLM in R-loop suppression and support an increasingly broad view of DNA repair and replication fork stabilizing proteins as modulators of R-loop-mediated genome instability.