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Mol Cell Biol. 2008 Jul;28(14):4480-93. doi: 10.1128/MCB.00375-08. Epub 2008 May 27.

Role of the Saccharomyces cerevisiae Rad53 checkpoint kinase in signaling double-strand breaks during the meiotic cell cycle.

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  • 1Dipartimento di Biotecnologie e Bioscienze, Università degli Studi di Milano-Bicocca, P.zza della Scienza 2, 20126 Milan, Italy.


DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs) can arise at unpredictable locations after DNA damage or in a programmed manner during meiosis. DNA damage checkpoint response to accidental DSBs during mitosis requires the Rad53 effector kinase, whereas the meiosis-specific Mek1 kinase, together with Red1 and Hop1, mediates the recombination checkpoint in response to programmed meiotic DSBs. Here we provide evidence that exogenous DSBs lead to Rad53 phosphorylation during the meiotic cell cycle, whereas programmed meiotic DSBs do not. However, the latter can trigger phosphorylation of a protein fusion between Rad53 and the Mec1-interacting protein Ddc2, suggesting that the inability of Rad53 to transduce the meiosis-specific DSB signals might be due to its failure to access the meiotic recombination sites. Rad53 phosphorylation/activation is elicited when unrepaired meiosis-specific DSBs escape the recombination checkpoint. This activation requires homologous chromosome segregation and delays the second meiotic division. Altogether, these data indicate that Rad53 prevents sister chromatid segregation in the presence of unrepaired programmed meiotic DSBs, thus providing a salvage mechanism ensuring genetic integrity in the gametes even in the absence of the recombination checkpoint.

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