Congratulations to the Libri Lab for this new paper published in Molecular Cell!
Cellular homeostasis requires the coordination of several machineries concurrently engaged in the DNA. Wide-spread transcription can interfere with other processes, and transcription-replication conflicts (TRCs) threaten genome stability. The conserved Sen1 helicase not only terminates non-coding transcription but also interacts with the replisome and reportedly resolves genotoxic R-loops. Sen1 prevents genomic instability, but how this relates to its molecular functions remains unclear. We generated high-resolution, genome-wide maps of transcription-dependent conflicts and R-loops using a Sen1 mutant that has lost interaction with the replisome but is termination proficient. We show that, under physiological conditions, Sen1 removes RNA polymerase II at TRCs within genes and the rDNA and at sites of transcription-transcription conflicts, thus qualifying as a “key regulator of conflicts.” We demonstrate that genomic stability is affected by Sen1 mutation only when in addition to its role at the replisome, the termination of non-coding transcription or R-loop removal are additionally compromised.