In response to DNA damage and replication blocks, cells prevent cell cycle progression through the control of critical cell cycle regulators. We identified Chk2, the mammalian homolog of the Saccharomyces cerevisiae Rad53 and Schizosaccharomyces pombe Cds1 protein kinases required for the DNA damage and replication checkpoints. Chk2 was rapidly phosphorylated and activated in response to replication blocks and DNA damage; the response to DNA damage occurred in an ataxia telangiectasia mutated (ATM)-dependent manner. In vitro, Chk2 phosphorylated Cdc25C on serine-216, a site known to be involved in negative regulation of Cdc25C. This is the same site phosphorylated by the protein kinase Chk1, which suggests that, in response to DNA damage and DNA replicational stress, Chk1 and Chk2 may phosphorylate Cdc25C to prevent entry into mitosis.
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