The trimeric Hef-associated nuclease HAN is a 3→5 exonuclease and is probably involved in DNA repair

Lei Feng, Chen Chen Chang, Dong Song, Chuang Jiang, Yang Song, Chao Fan Wang, Wei Deng, Ya Juan Zou, Hai Feng Chen, Xiang Xiao, Feng Ping Wang, Xi Peng Liu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Nucleases play important roles in nucleic acid metabolism. Some archaea encode a conserved protein known as Hef-associated nuclease (HAN). In addition to its C-terminal DHH nuclease domain, HAN also has three N-terminal domains, including a DnaJ-Zinc-finger, ribosomal protein S1-like, and oligonucleotide/oligosaccharide-binding fold. To further understand HAN’s function, we biochemically characterized the enzymatic properties of HAN from Pyrococcus furiosus (PfuHAN), solved the crystal structure of its DHH nuclease domain, and examined its role in DNA repair. Our results show that PfuHAN is a Mn2+-dependent 3-exonuclease specific to ssDNA and ssRNA with no activity on blunt and 3-recessive double-stranded DNA. Domain truncation confirmed that the intrinsic nuclease activity is dependent on the C-terminal DHH nuclease domain. The crystal structure of the DHH nuclease domain adopts a trimeric topology, with each subunit adopting a classical DHH phosphoesterase fold. Yeast two hybrid assay confirmed that the DHH domain interacts with the IDR peptide of Hef nuclease. Knockout of the han gene or its C-terminal DHH nuclease domain in Haloferax volcanii resulted in increased sensitivity to the DNA damage reagent MMS. Our results imply that HAN nuclease might be involved in repairing stalled replication forks in archaea.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9027-9043
Number of pages17
JournalNucleic acids research
Issue number17
Publication statusPublished - Sept 28 2018
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics


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