Initiation of the DNA replication checkpoint in yeast is mainly mediated by Mec1 protein kinase, the ortholog of human ATR, while its homolog Tel1, the ortholog of human ATM, has a minor replication checkpoint function. Checkpoint initiation requires stimulation of Mec1 kinase activity by specific activators. Saccharomyces cerevisiae Dna2, a nuclease-helicase that is essential for Okazaki fragment maturation, is employed specifically during S phase to stimulate Mec1 kinase and initiate the replication checkpoint. Mutations (W128A and Y130A) in the unstructured N terminus of Dna2 abrogate its checkpoint function in vitro and in vivo. Dna2 shows partial redundancy for the replication checkpoint with checkpoint initiators 9-1-1 (S. cerevisiae Ddc1-Mec3-Rad17 and human Rad9-Rad1-Hus1) and Dpb11, the ortholog of human TopBP1. A triple mutant that eliminates the checkpoint functions of all three initiators abrogates the Mec1-dependent checkpoint.
- Cell cycle checkpoint
- DNA replication