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Genes Dev. 2008 Feb 1;22(3):386-97. doi: 10.1101/gad.1626408.

Cdc28-Clb5 (CDK-S) and Cdc7-Dbf4 (DDK) collaborate to initiate meiotic recombination in yeast.

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Department of Biochemistry and Cell Biology, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, New York 11794, USA.


S-phase cyclin-dependent kinase Cdc28-Clb5 (CDK-S) and Dbf4-dependent kinase Cdc7-Dbf4 (DDK) are highly conserved kinases well known for their roles in the initiation of DNA replication. CDK-S is also essential for initiation of meiotic recombination because it phosphorylates Ser30 of Mer2, a meiosis-specific double-strand break (DSB) protein. This work shows that the phosphorylation of Mer2 Ser30 by CDK-S primes Mer2 for subsequent phosphorylation by DDK on Ser29, creating a negatively charged "patch" necessary for DSB formation. CDK-S and DDK phosphorylation of Mer2 S30 and S29 can be bypassed by phosphomimetic amino acids, but break formation under these conditions is still dependent on DDK and CDK-S activity. Coordination between premeiotic S and DSB formation may be achieved by using CDK-S and DDK to initiate both processes. Many other proteins important for replication, recombination, repair, and chromosome segregation contain combination DDK/CDK sites, raising the possibility that this is a common regulatory mechanism.

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