The FIRC Institute of Molecular Oncology

Milano, Italy

The FIRC Institute of Molecular Oncology

Milano, Italy
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Techer H.,the FIRC institute of Molecular Oncology | Koundrioukoff S.,CNRS Gustave Roussy Institute | Koundrioukoff S.,University Pierre and Marie Curie | Nicolas A.,University Pierre and Marie Curie | And 2 more authors.
Nature reviews. Genetics | Year: 2017

The interplay between replication stress and the S phase checkpoint is a key determinant of genome maintenance, and has a major impact on human diseases, notably, tumour initiation and progression. Recent studies have yielded insights into sequence-dependent and sequence-independent sources of endogenous replication stress. These stresses result in nuclease-induced DNA damage, checkpoint activation and genome-wide replication fork slowing. Several hypotheses have been proposed to account for the mechanisms involved in this complex response. Recent results have shown that the slowing of the replication forks most commonly results from DNA precursor starvation. By concomitantly increasing the density of replication initiation, the cell elicits an efficient compensatory strategy to avoid mitotic anomalies and the inheritance of damage over cell generations.

Horner D.S.,University of Milan | Pasini M.E.,University of Milan | Beltrame M.,University of Milan | Mastrodonato V.,The FIRC Institute of Molecular Oncology | And 3 more authors.
Seminars in Cell and Developmental Biology | Year: 2017

ESCRT (Endosomal Sorting Complex Required for Transport) proteins have been shown to control an increasing number of membrane-associated processes. Some of these, and prominently regulation of receptor trafficking, profoundly shape signal transduction. Evidence in fungi, plants and multiple animal models support the emerging concept that ESCRTs are main actors in coordination of signaling with the changes in cells and tissues occurring during development and homeostasis. Consistent with their pleiotropic function, ESCRTs are regulated in multiple ways to tailor signaling to developmental and homeostatic needs. ESCRT activity is crucial to correct execution of developmental programs, especially at key transitions, allowing eukaryotes to thrive and preventing appearance of congenital defects. © 2017 Elsevier Ltd.

Branzei D.,the FIRC Institute of Molecular Oncology | Szakal B.,the FIRC Institute of Molecular Oncology
Critical Reviews in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology | Year: 2017

The complete and faithful duplication of the genome is an essential prerequisite for proliferating cells to maintain genome integrity. This objective is greatly challenged by DNA damage encountered during replication, which causes fork stalling and in certain cases, fork breakage. DNA damage tolerance (DDT) pathways mitigate the effects on fork stability induced by replication fork stalling by mediating damage-bypass and replication fork restart. These DDT mechanisms, largely relying on homologous recombination (HR) and specialized polymerases, can however contribute to genome rearrangements and mutagenesis. There is a profound connection between replication and recombination: recombination proteins protect replication forks from nuclease-mediated degradation of the nascent DNA strands and facilitate replication completion in cells challenged by DNA damage. Moreover, in case of fork collapse and formation of double strand breaks (DSBs), the recombination factors present or recruited to the fork facilitate HR-mediated DSB repair, which is primarily error-free. Disruption of HR is inexorably linked to genome instability, but the premature activation of HR during replication often leads to genome rearrangements. Faithful replication necessitates the downregulation of HR and disruption of active RAD51 filaments at replication forks, but upon persistent fork stalling, building up of HR is critical for the reorganization of the replication fork and for filling-in of the gaps associated with discontinuous replication induced by DNA lesions. Here we summarize and reflect on our understanding of the mechanisms that either suppress recombination or locally enhance it during replication, and the principles that underlie this regulation. © 2017 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.

Menolfi D.,The FIRC Institute of Molecular Oncology | Delamarre A.,French National Center for Scientific Research | Lengronne A.,French National Center for Scientific Research | Pasero P.,French National Center for Scientific Research | Branzei D.,The FIRC Institute of Molecular Oncology
Molecular Cell | Year: 2015

The essential functions of the conserved Smc5/6 complex remain elusive. To uncover its roles in genome maintenance, we established Saccharomyces cerevisiae cell-cycle-regulated alleles that enable restriction of Smc5/6 components to S or G2/M. Unexpectedly, the essential functions of Smc5/6 segregated fully and selectively to G2/M. Genetic screens that became possible with generated alleles identified processes that crucially rely on Smc5/6 specifically in G2/M: metabolism of DNA recombination structures triggered by endogenous replication stress, and replication through natural pausing sites located in late-replicating regions. In the first process, Smc5/6 modulates remodeling of recombination intermediates, cooperating with dissolution activities. In the second, Smc5/6 prevents chromosome fragility and toxic recombination instigated by prolonged pausing and the fork protection complex, Tof1-Csm3. Our results thus dissect Smc5/6 essential roles and reveal that combined defects in DNA damage tolerance and pausing site-replication cause recombination-mediated DNA lesions, which we propose to drive developmental and cancer-prone disorders. © 2015 The Authors.

Gay S.,the FIRC Institute of Molecular Oncology | Foiani M.,the FIRC Institute of Molecular Oncology | Foiani M.,University of Milan
International Review of Cell and Molecular Biology | Year: 2015

More than as an inert separation between the inside and outside of the nucleus, the nuclear envelope (NE) constitutes an active toll, which controls the import and export of molecules, and also a hub for a diversity of genomic processes, such as transcription, DNA repair, and chromatin dynamics. Proteins localized at the inner surface of the NE (such as lamins, nuclear pore proteins, lamin-associated proteins) interact with chromatin in a dynamic manner, contributing to the establishment of topological domains. In this review, we address the complex interplay between chromatin and NE. We discuss the divergence of this cross talk during evolution and comment both on the current established models and the most recent findings. In particular, we focus our attention on how the NE cooperates with chromatin in protecting the genome integrity. © 2015 Elsevier Inc.

Fumasoni M.,The FIRC Institute of Molecular Oncology | Zwicky K.,University of Zürich | Vanoli F.,The FIRC Institute of Molecular Oncology | Vanoli F.,Sloan Kettering Cancer Center | And 2 more authors.
Molecular Cell | Year: 2015

Chromosomal replication is entwined with DNA damage tolerance (DDT) and chromatin structure establishment via elusive mechanisms. Here we examined how specific replication conditions affecting replisome architecture and repriming impact on DDT. We show that Saccharomyces cerevisiae Polα/Primase/Ctf4 mutants, proficient in bulk DNA replication, are defective in recombination-mediated damage-bypass by template switching (TS) and have reduced sister chromatid cohesion. The decrease in error-free DDT is accompanied by increased usage of mutagenic DDT, fork reversal, and higher rates of genome rearrangements mediated by faultystrand annealing. Notably, the DDT defects of Polα/Primase/Ctf4 mutants are not the consequence of increased sister chromatid distance, but are instead caused byaltered single-stranded DNA metabolism and abnormal replication fork topology. We propose that error-free TS is driven by timely replicative helicase-coupled re-priming. Defects in this event impact on replication fork architecture and sister chromatid proximity, and represent a frequent source of chromosome lesions upon replication dysfunctions. © 2015 The Authors.

Branzei D.,The FIRC Institute of Molecular Oncology | Psakhye I.,The FIRC Institute of Molecular Oncology
Current Opinion in Cell Biology | Year: 2016

Accurate chromosomal DNA replication is fundamental for optimal cellular function and genome integrity. Replication perturbations activate DNA damage tolerance pathways, which are crucial to complete genome duplication as well as to prevent formation of deleterious double strand breaks. Cells use two general strategies to tolerate lesions: recombination to a homologous template, and trans-lesion synthesis with specialized polymerases. While key players of these processes have been outlined, much less is known on their choreography and regulation. Recent advances have uncovered principles by which DNA damage tolerance is regulated locally and temporally - in relation to replication timing and cell cycle stage -, and are beginning to elucidate the DNA dynamics that mediate lesion tolerance and influence chromosome structure during replication. © 2016 Elsevier Ltd.

Aze A.,The FIRC Institute of Molecular Oncology | Sannino V.,The FIRC Institute of Molecular Oncology | Soffientini P.,The FIRC Institute of Molecular Oncology | Bachi A.,The FIRC Institute of Molecular Oncology | Costanzo V.,The FIRC Institute of Molecular Oncology
Nature Cell Biology | Year: 2016

Half of the human genome is made up of repetitive DNA. However, mechanisms underlying replication of chromosome regions containing repetitive DNA are poorly understood. We reconstituted replication of defined human chromosome segments using bacterial artificial chromosomes in Xenopus laevis egg extract. Using this approach we characterized the chromatin assembly and replication dynamics of centromeric alpha-satellite DNA. Proteomic analysis of centromeric chromatin revealed replication-dependent enrichment of a network of DNA repair factors including the MSH2–6 complex, which was required for efficient centromeric DNA replication. However, contrary to expectations, the ATR-dependent checkpoint monitoring DNA replication fork arrest could not be activated on highly repetitive DNA due to the inability of the single-stranded DNA binding protein RPA to accumulate on chromatin. Electron microscopy of centromeric DNA and supercoil mapping revealed the presence of topoisomerase I-dependent DNA loops embedded in a protein matrix enriched for SMC2–4 proteins. This arrangement suppressed ATR signalling by preventing RPA hyper-loading, facilitating replication of centromeric DNA. These findings have important implications for our understanding of repetitive DNA metabolism and centromere organization under normal and stressful conditions. © 2016 Nature Publishing Group

Sannino V.,The FIRC institute of Molecular Oncology | Kolinjivadi A.M.,The FIRC institute of Molecular Oncology | Baldi G.,The FIRC institute of Molecular Oncology | Costanzo V.,The FIRC institute of Molecular Oncology
International Journal of Developmental Biology | Year: 2016

The correct duplication of genetic information is essential to maintain genome stability, which is lost in cancer cells. Replication fork integrity is ensured by a number of DNA metabolism proteins that assist replication of chromatin regions difficult to replicate due to their intrinsic DNA sequence composition, coordinate repair of DNA molecules resulting from aberrant replication events or protect replication forks in the presence of lesions impairing their progression. Some DNA metabolism genes involved in DNA repair are essential in higher eukaryotes even in unchallenged conditions, suggesting the existence of biological processes requiring these specialized functions in organisms with complex genomes. The impact on cell survival of null mutants of many DNA metabolism genes has precluded complete in depth analysis of their function. Cell free extracts represent a fundamental tool to overcome survival issues. The Xenopus laevis egg cell free extract is an ideal system to study replication-associated functions of essential genes. We are taking advantage of this system together with innovative imaging and proteomic based experimental approaches to characterize the molecular function of essential DNA metabolism proteins. Using this approach we have uncovered the role of some essential homologous recombination and fork protection proteins in chromosomal DNA replication and we have characterized some of the factors required for faithful replication of specific vertebrate genomic regions. This approach will be instrumental to study the molecular mechanisms underlying the function of a number of essential DNA metabolism proteins involved in the maintenance of genome stability in complex genomes. © 2016 UPV/EHU Press.

Branzei D.,the FIRC Institute of Molecular Oncology | Szakal B.,the FIRC Institute of Molecular Oncology
Nucleus | Year: 2016

Genome duplication is coupled with DNA damage tolerance (DDT) and chromatin structural changes. Recently we reported that mutations in Primase subunits or factors that bridge Polα/Primase with the replicative helicase, Ctf4, caused abnormal usage of DDT pathways, negatively influenced sister chromatid cohesion (SCC), and associated with increased fork reversal.1 We also found that cohesin, which is paradigmatic for SCC, facilitates recombination-mediated DDT. However, only the recombination defects of cohesin, but not of cohesion-defective Polα/Primase/Ctf4 mutants, were rescued by artificial tethering of sister chromatids. Genetic tests and electron microscopy analysis of replication intermediates made us propose that management of single-stranded DNA forming proximal to the fork is a critical determinant of chromosome and replication fork structure, and influences DDT pathway choice. Here we discuss the implications of our findings for understanding DDT regulation and cohesion establishment during replication, and outline directions to rationalize the relationship between these chromosome metabolism processes. © 2016 The Author(s). Published by Taylor & Francis.

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