The 53BP1-RIF1 pathway antagonizes resection of DNA broken ends and confers PARP inhibitor sensitivity on BRCA1-mutated tumors. However, it is unclear how this pathway suppresses initiation of resection. Here, we identify ASF1 as a partner of RIF1 via an interacting manner similar to its interactions with histone chaperones CAF-1 and HIRA. ASF1 is recruited to distal chromatin flanking DNA breaks by 53BP1-RIF1 and promotes non-homologous end joining (NHEJ) using its histone chaperone activity. Epistasis analysis shows that ASF1 acts in the same NHEJ pathway as RIF1, but via a parallel pathway with the shieldin complex, which suppresses resection after initiation. Moreover, defects in end resection and homologous recombination (HR) in BRCA1-deficient cells are largely suppressed by ASF1 deficiency. Mechanistically, ASF1 compacts adjacent chromatin by heterochromatinization to protect broken DNA ends from BRCA1-mediated resection. Taken together, our findings identify a RIF1-ASF1 histone chaperone complex that promotes changes in high-order chromatin structure to stimulate the NHEJ pathway for DSB repair.
Bibliographical notePublisher Copyright:
© 2022, The Author(s).