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Genes Dev. 2000 Feb 1;14(3):278-88.

Chk2/hCds1 functions as a DNA damage checkpoint in G(1) by stabilizing p53.

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  • 1Department of Molecular Genetics, The Wistar Institute, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19104, USA.


Chk2/hcds1, the human homolog of the Saccharomyces cerevisiae RAD53/SPK1 and Schizosaccharomyces pombe cds1 DNA damage checkpoint genes, encodes a protein kinase that is post-translationally modified after DNA damage. Like its yeast homologs, the Chk2/hCds1 protein phosphorylates Cdc25C in vitro, suggesting that it arrests cells in G(2) in response to DNA damage. We expressed Chk2/hCds1 in human cells and analyzed their cell cycle profile. Wild-type, but not catalytically inactive, Chk2/hCds1 led to G(1) arrest after DNA damage. The arrest was inhibited by cotransfection of a dominant-negative p53 mutant, indicating that Chk2/hCds1 acted upstream of p53. In vitro, Chk2/hCds1 phosphorylated p53 on Ser-20 and dissociated preformed complexes of p53 with Mdm2, a protein that targets p53 for degradation. In vivo, ectopic expression of wild-type Chk2/hCds1 led to increased p53 stabilization after DNA damage, whereas expression of a dominant-negative Chk2/hCds1 mutant abrogated both phosphorylation of p53 on Ser-20 and p53 stabilization. Thus, in response to DNA damage, Chk2/hCds1 stabilizes the p53 tumor suppressor protein leading to cell cycle arrest in G(1).

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