Purdue University Graduate School
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posted on 2021-01-07, 15:49 authored by Onyekachi Ebelechukwu OnonyeOnyekachi Ebelechukwu Ononye
Accurate DNA replication is vital for maintaining genomic stability. Consequently, the machinery required to drive this process is designed to ensure the meticulous maintenance of information. However, random misincorporation of errors reduce the fidelity of the DNA and lead to pre-mature aging and age-related disorders such as cancer and neurodegenerative diseases. Some of the incorporated errors are the result of the error prone DNA polymerase alpha (Pol a), which initiates synthesis on both the leading and lagging strand. Lagging strand synthesis acquires an increased number of polymerase a tracks because of the number of Okazaki fragments synthesized per round of the cell cycle (~50 million in mammalian cells). The accumulation of these errors invariably reduces the fidelity of the genome. Previous work has shown that these pol a tracks can be removed by two redundant pathways referred to as the short and long flap pathway. The long flap pathway utilizes a complex network of proteins to remove more of the misincorporated nucleotides than the short flap pathway which mediates the removal of shorter flaps. Lysine acetylation has been reported to modulate the function of the nucleases implicated in flap processing. The cleavage activity of the long flap pathway nuclease, Dna2, is stimulated by lysine acetylation while conversely lysine acetylation of the short flap pathway nuclease, FEN1, inhibits its activity. The major protein players implicated during Okazaki fragment processing (OFP) are known, however, the choice of the processing pathway and its regulation by lysine acetylation of its main players is yet unknown. This dissertation identifies three main findings: 1) Saccharomyces cerevisiae helicase, petite integration frequency (Pif1) is lysine acetylated by Esa1 and deacetylated by Rpd3 regulating its viability and biochemical properties including helicase, binding and ATPase activity ii) the single stranded DNA binding protein, human replication protein A (RPA) is modified by p300 and this modification stimulates its primary binding function and iii) lysine acetylated human RPA directs OFP towards the long flap pathway even for a subset of short flaps.


Degree Type

  • Doctor of Philosophy


  • Biological Sciences

Campus location

  • Indianapolis

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Dr. Lata Balakrishnan

Additional Committee Member 2

Dr. John Watson

Additional Committee Member 3

Dr. AJ Baucum

Additional Committee Member 4

Dr. John Turchi

Additional Committee Member 5

Dr. Matthew Bochman