RecQ helicases are important caretakers of genome stability and occur in varying copy numbers in different eukaryotes. Subsets of RecQ paralogs are involved in DNA crosslink (CL) repair. The orthologs of AtRECQ2, AtRECQ3 and AtHRQ1, HsWRN, DmRECQ5 and ScHRQ1 participate in CL repair in their respective organisms, and we aimed to define the function of these helicases for plants.
We obtained Arabidopsis mutants of the three RecQ helicases and determined their sensitivity against CL agents in single‐ and double‐mutant analyses.
Only Athrq1 , but not Atrecq2 and Atrecq3 , mutants proved to be sensitive to intra‐ and interstrand crosslinking agents. AtHRQ1 is specifically involved in the repair of replicative damage induced by CL agents. It shares pathways with the Fanconi anemia‐related endonuclease FAN1 but not with the endonuclease MUS81. Most surprisingly, AtHRQ1 is epistatic to the ATPase RAD5A for intra‐ as well as interstrand CL repair.
We conclude that, as in fungi, AtHRQ1 has a conserved function in DNA excision repair. Additionally, HRQ1 not only shares pathways with the Fanconi anemia repair factors, but in contrast to fungi also seems to act in a common pathway with postreplicative DNA repair.