Aberrant DNA replication is a primary cause of mutations that are associated with pathological disorders including cancer. During DNA metabolism, the primary causes of replication fork stalling include secondary DNA structures, highly transcribed regions and damaged DNA. The restart of stalled replication forks is critical for the timely progression of the cell cycle and ultimately for the maintenance of genomic stability. Our previous work has implicated the single-stranded DNA binding protein, hSSB1/NABP2, in the repair of DNA double-strand breaks via homologous recombination. Here, we demonstrate that hSSB1 relocates to hydroxyurea (HU)-damaged replication forks where it is required for ATR and Chk1 activation and recruitment of Mre11 and Rad51. Consequently, hSSB1-depleted cells fail to repair and restart stalled replication forks. hSSB1 deficiency causes accumulation of DNA strand breaks and results in chromosome aberrations observed in mitosis, ultimately resulting in hSSB1 being required for survival to HU and camptothecin. Overall, our findings demonstrate the importance of hSSB1 in maintaining and repairing DNA replication forks and for overall genomic stability.
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