Cell Press, Molecular Cell, 5(51), p. 691-701, 2013
The Plk1-interacting checkpoint helicase (PICH) protein localizes to ultrafine anaphase bridges (UFBs) in mitosis alongside a complex of DNA repair proteins, including the Bloom's syndrome protein (BLM). However, very little is known about the function of PICH or how it is recruited to UFBs. Using a combination of microfluidics, fluorescence microscopy, and optical tweezers, we have defined the properties of PICH in an in vitro model of an anaphase bridge. We show that PICH binds with a remarkably high affinity to duplex DNA, resulting in ATP-dependent protein translocation and extension of the DNA. Most strikingly, the affinity of PICH for binding DNA increases with tension-induced DNA stretching, which mimics the effect of the mitotic spindle on a UFB. PICH binding also appears to diminish force-induced DNA melting. We propose a model in which PICH recognizes and stabilizes DNA under tension during anaphase, thereby facilitating the resolution of entangled sister chromatids.