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Mol Biol Cell. 2012 Mar;23(6):1058-67. doi: 10.1091/mbc.E11-10-0852. Epub 2012 Feb 1.

Colocalization of Mec1 and Mrc1 is sufficient for Rad53 phosphorylation in vivo.

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  • 1Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, CA 94158, USA.


When DNA is damaged or DNA replication goes awry, cells activate checkpoints to allow time for damage to be repaired and replication to complete. In Saccharomyces cerevisiae, the DNA damage checkpoint, which responds to lesions such as double-strand breaks, is activated when the lesion promotes the association of the sensor kinase Mec1 and its targeting subunit Ddc2 with its activators Ddc1 (a member of the 9-1-1 complex) and Dpb11. It has been more difficult to determine what role these Mec1 activators play in the replication checkpoint, which recognizes stalled replication forks, since Dpb11 has a separate role in DNA replication itself. Therefore we constructed an in vivo replication-checkpoint mimic that recapitulates Mec1-dependent phosphorylation of the effector kinase Rad53, a crucial step in checkpoint activation. In the endogenous replication checkpoint, Mec1 phosphorylation of Rad53 requires Mrc1, a replisome component. The replication-checkpoint mimic requires colocalization of Mrc1-LacI and Ddc2-LacI and is independent of both Ddc1 and Dpb11. We show that these activators are also dispensable for Mec1 activity and cell survival in the endogenous replication checkpoint but that Ddc1 is absolutely required in the absence of Mrc1. We propose that colocalization of Mrc1 and Mec1 is the minimal signal required to activate the replication checkpoint.

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