The DNA damage response (DDR), comprising distinct repair and signalling pathways, safeguards genomic integrity. Protein ubiquitylation is an important regulatory mechanism of the DDR. To study its role in the UV-induced DDR, we characterized changes in protein ubiquitylation following DNA damage using quantitative di-Gly proteomics. Interestingly, we identified multiple sites of histone H1 that are ubiquitylated upon UV-damage. We show that UV-dependent histone H1 ubiquitylation at multiple lysines is mediated by the E3-ligase HUWE1. Recently, it was shown that poly-ubiquitylated histone H1 is an important signalling intermediate in the double strand break response. This poly-ubiquitylation is dependent on RNF8 and Ubc13 which extend pre-existing ubiquitin modifications to K63-linked chains. Here we demonstrate that HUWE1 depleted cells showed reduced recruitment of RNF168 and 53BP1 to sites of DNA damage, two factors downstream of RNF8 mediated histone H1 poly-ubiquitylation, while recruitment of MDC1, which act upstream of histone H1 ubiquitylation, was not affected. Our data show that histone H1 is a prominent target for ubiquitylation after UV-induced DNA damage. Our data are in line with a model in which HUWE1 primes histone H1 with ubiquitin to allow ubiquitin chain elongation by RNF8, thereby stimulating the RNF8-RNF168 mediated DDR.

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Journal Scientific Reports
Mandemaker, I.K, van Cuijk, L.M.A, Janssens, R.C, Lans, H, Bezstarosti, K, Hoeijmakers, J.H.J, … Marteijn, J.A. (2017). DNA damage-induced histone H1 ubiquitylation is mediated by HUWE1 and stimulates the RNF8-RNF168 pathway. Scientific Reports, 7(1). doi:10.1038/s41598-017-15194-y