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Topoisomerase IIβ binding protein 1 (TopBP1) is a critical protein-protein interaction hub in DNA replication checkpoint control. It was proposed that TopBP1 BRCT5 interacts with Bloom syndrome helicase (BLM) to regulate genome stability through either phospho-Ser304 or phospho-Ser338 of BLM. Here we show that TopBP1 BRCT5 specifically interacts with the BLM region surrounding pSer304, not pSer338. Our crystal structure of TopBP1 BRCT4/5 bound to BLM reveals recognition of pSer304 by a conserved pSer-binding pocket, and interactions between an FVPP motif N-terminal to pSer304 and a hydrophobic groove on BRCT5. This interaction utilizes the same surface of BRCT5 that recognizes the DNA damage mediator, MDC1; however the binding orientations of MDC1 and BLM are reversed. While the MDC1 interactions are largely electrostatic, the interaction with BLM has higher affinity and relies on a mix of electrostatics and hydrophobicity. We suggest that similar evolutionarily conserved interactions may govern interactions between TopBP1 and 53BP1.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





1582 - 1588.e3


BLM, BRCT, Bloom syndrome, TopBP1, X-ray crystallography, fluorescence polarization, phosphopeptide interactions, Animals, Binding Sites, Carrier Proteins, Crystallography, X-Ray, DNA-Binding Proteins, Humans, Mice, Models, Molecular, Nuclear Proteins, Phosphorylation, Protein Conformation, RecQ Helicases, Serine, Trans-Activators