The protein phosphatase 2A (PP2A) is a conserved heterotrimeric enzyme that regulates several cellular processes including the DNA damage response and mitosis. Consistent with these functions, PP2A is mutated in many types of cancer and acts as a tumor suppressor. In mammalian cells, PP2A inhibition results in DNA double strand breaks (DSBs) and chromosome aberrations (CABs). However, the mechanisms through which PP2A prevents DNA damage are still unclear. Here, we focus on the role of the Drosophila twins (tws) gene in the maintenance of chromosome integrity; tws encodes the B regulatory subunit (B/B55) of PP2A. Mutations in tws cause high frequencies of CABs (0.5 CABs/cell) in Drosophila larval brain cells and lead to an abnormal persistence of γ-H2Av repair foci. However, mutations that disrupt the PP4 phosphatase activity impair foci dissolution but do not cause CABs, suggesting that a delayed foci regression is not clastogenic. We also show that Tws is required for activation of the G2/M DNA damage checkpoint while PP4 is required for checkpoint recovery, a result that points to a conserved function of these phosphatases from flies to humans. Mutations in the ATM-coding gene tefu are strictly epistatic to tws mutations for the CAB phenotype, suggesting that failure to dephosphorylate an ATM substrate(s) impairs DNA DSBs repair. In addition, mutations in the Ku70 gene, which do not cause CABs, completely suppress CAB formation in tws Ku70 double mutants. These results suggest the hypothesis that an improperly phosphorylated Ku70 protein can lead to DNA damage and CABs.
- Received June 15, 2016.
- Accepted December 21, 2016.
- Copyright © 2017 by the Genetics Society of America