DDK/Hsk1 phosphorylates and targets fission yeast histone deacetylase Hst4 for degradation to stabilize stalled DNA replication forks

  1. Shalini Aricthota
  2. Devyani Haldar  Is a corresponding author
  1. Centre for DNA Fingerprinting and Diagnostics, India


In eukaryotes, paused replication forks are prone to collapse, which leads to genomic instability, a hallmark of cancer. Dbf4 Dependent Kinase (DDK)/Hsk1Cdc7 is a conserved replication initiator kinase with conflicting roles in replication stress response. Here, we show that fission yeast DDK/Hsk1 phosphorylates sirtuin, Hst4 upon replication stress at C-terminal serine residues. Phosphorylation of Hst4 by DDK marks it for degradation via the ubiquitin ligase SCFpof3. Phosphorylation defective hst4 mutant (4SA-hst4) displays defective recovery from replication stress, faulty fork restart, slow S-phase progression and decreased viability. The highly conserved Fork Protection Complex (FPC) stabilizes stalled replication forks. We found that the recruitment of FPC components, Swi1 and Mcl1 to the chromatin is compromised in the 4SA-hst4 mutant, although whole cell levels increased. These defects are dependent upon H3K56ac and independent of intra S-phase checkpoint activation. Finally, we show conservation of H3K56ac dependent regulation of Timeless, Tipin and And-1 in human cells. We propose that degradation of Hst4 via DDK increases H3K56ac, changing the chromatin state in the vicinity of stalled forks facilitating recruitment and function of FPC. Overall, this study identified a crucial role of DDK and FPC in the regulation of replication stress response with implications in cancer therapeutics.

Data availability

All data generated or analysed during this study are included in the manuscript and supporting files.

Article and author information

Author details

  1. Shalini Aricthota

    Chromatin Biology and Epigenetics, Centre for DNA Fingerprinting and Diagnostics, Hyderabad, India
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  2. Devyani Haldar

    Chromatin Biology and Epigenetics, Centre for DNA Fingerprinting and Diagnostics, Hyderabad, India
    For correspondence
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
    ORCID icon "This ORCID iD identifies the author of this article:" 0000-0003-1445-1374


Science and Engineering Research Board (Grant EMR/2016/003933)

  • Devyani Haldar

University Grants Commission (Ref No. 23/06/2013i(EU-V))

  • Shalini Aricthota

The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.

Reviewing Editor

  1. Jerry L Workman, Stowers Institute for Medical Research, United States

Version history

  1. Received: May 31, 2021
  2. Accepted: October 1, 2021
  3. Accepted Manuscript published: October 5, 2021 (version 1)
  4. Version of Record published: November 3, 2021 (version 2)


© 2021, Aricthota & Haldar

This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.


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  1. Shalini Aricthota
  2. Devyani Haldar
DDK/Hsk1 phosphorylates and targets fission yeast histone deacetylase Hst4 for degradation to stabilize stalled DNA replication forks
eLife 10:e70787.

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