Landsverk et al. show that the RNAPII S5 phosphatase complex WDR82/PNUTS-PP1 suppresses replication stress. WDR82/PNUTS-PP1 promotes degradation of RNAPII on chromatin, thereby reducing the residence time of RNAPII. Their results suggest that proper dephosphorylation of RNAPII is needed to prevent conflicts between transcription and replication.Transcription-replication (T-R) conflicts cause replication stress and loss of genome integrity. However, the transcription-related processes that restrain such conflicts are poorly understood. Here, we demonstrate that the RNA polymerase II (RNAPII) C-terminal domain (CTD) phosphatase protein phosphatase 1 (PP1) nuclear targeting subunit (PNUTS)-PP1 inhibits replication stress. Depletion of PNUTS causes lower EdU uptake, S phase accumulation, and slower replication fork rates. In addition, the PNUTS binding partner WDR82 also promotes RNAPII-CTD dephosphorylation and suppresses replication stress. RNAPII has a longer residence time on chromatin after depletion of PNUTS or WDR82. Furthermore, the RNAPII residence time is greatly enhanced by proteasome inhibition in control cells but less so in PNUTS- or WDR82-depleted cells, indicating that PNUTS and WDR82 promote degradation of RNAPII on chromatin. Notably, reduced replication is dependent on transcription and the phospho-CTD binding protein CDC73 after depletion of PNUTS/WDR82. Altogether, our results suggest that RNAPII-CTD dephosphorylation is required for the continuous turnover of RNAPII on chromatin, thereby preventing T-R conflicts.

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Cell Reports
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Landsverk, H.B. (Helga B.), Sandquist, L.E. (Lise E.), Bay, L.T.E. (Lilli T.E.), Steurer, B., Campsteijn, C. (Coen), Landsverk, O.J.B. (Ole J.B.), … Syljuåsen, R.G. (Randi G.). (2020). WDR82/PNUTS-PP1 Prevents Transcription-Replication Conflicts by Promoting RNA Polymerase II Degradation on Chromatin. Cell Reports, 33(9). doi:10.1016/j.celrep.2020.108469