The eukaryotic replisome is rapidly disassembled during DNA replication termination. In metazoa, the cullin-RING ubiquitin ligase CUL-2LRR-1 drives ubiquitylation of the CMG helicase, leading to replisome disassembly by the p97/CDC-48 "unfoldase". Here, we combine in vitro reconstitution with in vivo studies in Caenorhabditis elegans embryos, to show that the replisome-associated TIMELESS-TIPIN complex is required for CUL-2LRR-1 recruitment and efficient CMG helicase ubiquitylation. Aided by TIMELESS-TIPIN, CUL-2LRR-1 directs a suite of ubiquitylation enzymes to ubiquitylate the MCM-7 subunit of CMG. Subsequently, the UBXN-3 adaptor protein directly stimulates the disassembly of ubiquitylated CMG by CDC-48_UFD-1_NPL-4. We show that UBXN-3 is important in vivo for replisome disassembly in the absence of TIMELESS-TIPIN. Correspondingly, co-depletion of UBXN-3 and TIMELESS causes profound synthetic lethality. Since the human orthologue of UBXN-3, FAF1, is a candidate tumour suppressor, these findings suggest that manipulation of CMG disassembly might be applicable to future strategies for treating human cancer.
Xia Y, Fujisawa R, Deegan TD, Sonneville R, Labib KPM