DNA replication and repair are essential cellular processes that ensure genome duplication and safeguard the genome from deleterious mutations. Both processes utilize an abundance of enzymatic functions that need to be tightly regulated to ensure dynamic exchange of DNA replication and repair factors. Proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA) is the major coordinator of faithful and processive replication and DNA repair at replication forks. Post-translational modifications of PCNA, ubiquitination and acetylation in particular, regulate the dynamics of PCNA-protein interactions. Proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA) monoubiquitination elicits ‘polymerase switching’, whereby stalled replicative polymerase is replaced with a specialized polymerase, while PCNA acetylation may reduce the processivity of replicative polymerases to promote homologous recombination-dependent repair. While regulatory functions of PCNA ubiquitination and acetylation have been well established, the regulation of PCNA-binding proteins remains underexplored. Considering the vast number of PCNA-binding proteins, many of which have similar PCNA binding affinities, the question arises as to the regulation of the strength and sequence of their binding to PCNA. Here I provide an overview of post-translational modifications on both PCNA and PCNA-interacting proteins and discuss their relevance for the regulation of the dynamic processes of DNA replication and repair.
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