DNA and Chromosomes
- Successful DNA replication requires carefully regulated mechanisms to overcome numerous obstacles that naturally occur throughout chromosomal DNA. Scattered across the genome are tightly bound proteins, such as transcription factors and nucleosomes, that are necessary for cell function, but that also have the potential to impede timely DNA replication. Using biochemically reconstituted systems, we show that two transcription factors, yeast Reb1 and Tbf1, and a tightly positioned nucleosome, are strong blocks to the strand displacement DNA synthesis activity of DNA polymerase δ.
- Saccharomyces cerevisiae Tel1 is the ortholog of human ATM kinase and initiates a cell cycle checkpoint in response to dsDNA breaks (DSBs). Tel1ATM kinase is activated synergistically by naked dsDNA and the Mre11-Rad50-Xrs2NBS1 complex (MRX). A multisubunit protein complex, which is related to human shelterin, protects telomeres from being recognized as DSBs, thereby preventing a Tel1ATM checkpoint response. However, at very short telomeres, Tel1ATM can be recruited and activated by the MRX complex, resulting in telomere elongation.
- In Saccharomyces cerevisiae, Tel1 protein kinase, the ortholog of human ataxia telangiectasia–mutated (ATM), is activated in response to DNA double-strand breaks. Biochemical studies with human ATM and genetic studies in yeast suggest that recruitment and activation of Tel1ATM depends on the heterotrimeric MRXMRN complex, composed of Mre11, Rad50, and Xrs2 (human Nbs1). However, the mechanism of activation of Tel1 by MRX remains unclear, as does the role of effector DNA. Here we demonstrate that dsDNA and MRX activate Tel1 synergistically.
- The phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase-related protein kinases are key regulators controlling a wide range of cellular events. The yeast Tel1 and Mec1·Ddc2 complex (ATM and ATR-ATRIP in humans) play pivotal roles in DNA replication, DNA damage signaling, and repair. Here, we present the first structural insight for dimers of Mec1·Ddc2 and Tel1 using single-particle electron microscopy. Both kinases reveal a head to head dimer with one major dimeric interface through the N-terminal HEAT (named after Huntingtin, elongation factor 3, protein phosphatase 2A, and yeast kinase TOR1) repeat.
- DNA replication in eukaryotic cells requires minimally three B-family DNA polymerases: Pol α, Pol δ, and Pol ɛ. Pol δ replicates and matures Okazaki fragments on the lagging strand of the replication fork. Saccharomyces cerevisiae Pol δ is a three-subunit enzyme (Pol3-Pol31-Pol32). A small C-terminal domain of the catalytic subunit Pol3 carries both iron-sulfur cluster and zinc-binding motifs, which mediate interactions with Pol31, and processive replication with the replication clamp proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA), respectively.
- Yeast Mec1, the ortholog of human ATR, is the apical protein kinase that initiates the cell cycle checkpoint in response to DNA damage and replication stress. The basal activity of Mec1 kinase is activated by cell cycle phase-specific activators. Three distinct activators stimulate Mec1 kinase using an intrinsically disordered domain of the protein. These are the Ddc1 subunit of the 9-1-1 checkpoint clamp (ortholog of human and Schizosaccharomyces pombe Rad9), the replication initiator Dpb11 (ortholog of human TopBP1 and S.