Although a growing number of studies have reported the importance of SUMOylation in genome maintenance and DNA double-strand break repair (DSBR), relevant target proteins and how this modification regulates their functions are yet to be clarified. Here, we analyzed SUMOylation of ZTF-8, the homolog of mammalian RHINO, to test the functional significance of this protein modification in the DSBR and DNA damage response (DDR) pathways in the Caenorhabditis elegans germline. We found that ZTF-8 is a direct target for SUMOylation in vivo and that its modification is required for DNA damage checkpoint induced apoptosis and DSBR. Non-SUMOylatable mutants of ZTF-8 mimic the phenotypes observed in ztf-8 null mutants including reduced fertility, impaired DNA damage repair and defective DNA damage checkpoint activation. However, while mutants for components acting in the SUMOylation pathway fail to properly localize ZTF-8, its localization is not altered in the ZTF-8 non-SUMOylatable mutants. Taken together, these data show that direct SUMOylation of ZTF-8 is required for its function in DSBR as well as DDR but not its localization. ZTF-8's human ortholog is enriched in the germline, but its meiotic role as well as its post-translational modification has never been explored. Therefore, our discovery may assist in understanding the regulatory mechanism of this protein in DSBR and DDR in the germline.
- Received February 18, 2015.
- Accepted March 24, 2015.
- Copyright © 2015, The Genetics Society of America