Poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase-1 (PARP-1) is an abundant and ubiquitous nuclear enzyme that catalyzes the transfer of ADP-ribose from donor NAD+ molecules to specific amino acids on substrate proteins. The catalytic activity of PARP-1 has long been known to be allosterically stimulated by the free ends of DNA, such as those found at double-strand breaks in the genome. A number of studies have also shown that the catalytic activity of PARP-1 can also be stimulated by various types of RNA. A recent study by Nakamoto et al., however, has contradicted these results, concluding that the apparent stimulatory activity of the RNAs was due to contaminating DNA in the RNA preparations used in the biochemical assays. Here we show using a carefully controlled set of biochemical assays that DNA-free, in vitro-transcribed, PARP-1-interacting snoRNAs can stimulate PARP-1 catalytic activity. We confirmed the activation of PARP-1 by snoRNAs using a chemically synthesized snoRNA, as well as CRISPR/Cas9-mediated knockout of snoRNAs in cells. Finally, we provide a set of considerations and experimental conditions for the careful evaluation of RNA-stimulated PARP-1 catalytic activity that will help researchers avoid artifacts.
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