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EMBO J. 2006 May 3;25(9):1987-96. Epub 2006 Apr 13.

A CDK-catalysed regulatory phosphorylation for formation of the DNA replication complex Sld2-Dpb11.

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Division of Microbial Genetics, National Institute of Genetics, Research Organization of Information and Systems, Mishima, Shizuoka, Japan.


Phosphorylation often regulates protein-protein interactions to control biological reactions. The Sld2 and Dpb11 proteins of budding yeast form a phosphorylation-dependent complex that is essential for chromosomal DNA replication. The Sld2 protein has a cluster of 11 cyclin-dependent kinase (CDK) phosphorylation motifs (Ser/Thr-Pro), six of which match the canonical sequences Ser/Thr-Pro-X-Lys/Arg, Lys/Arg-Ser/Thr-Pro and Ser/Thr-Pro-Lys/Arg. Simultaneous alanine substitution for serine or threonine in all the canonical CDK-phosphorylation motifs severely reduces complex formation between Sld2 and Dpb11, and inhibits DNA replication. Here we show that phosphorylation of these canonical motifs does not play a direct role in complex formation, but rather regulates phosphorylation of another residue, Thr84. This constitutes a non-canonical CDK-phosphorylation motif within a 28-amino-acid sequence that is responsible, after phosphorylation, for binding of Sld2-Dpb11. We further suggest that CDK-catalysed phosphorylation of sites other than Thr84 renders Thr84 accessible to CDK. Finally, we argue that this novel mechanism sets a threshold of CDK activity for formation of the essential Sld2 to Dpb11 complex and therefore prevents premature DNA replication.

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