Genetic analysis of CHK1 and CHK2 homologues revealed a unique cross talk between ATM and ATR pathways in Neurospora crassa

DNA Repair (Amst). 2008 Dec 1;7(12):1951-61. doi: 10.1016/j.dnarep.2008.08.004. Epub 2008 Sep 27.


DNA damage checkpoint is an important mechanism for organisms to maintain genome integrity. In Neurospora crassa, mus-9 and mus-21 are homologues of ATR and ATM, respectively, which are pivotal factors of DNA damage checkpoint in mammals. A N. crassa clock gene prd-4 has been identified as a CHK2 homologue, but its role in DNA damage response had not been elucidated. In this study, we identified another CHK2 homologue and one CHK1 homologue from the N. crassa genome database. As disruption of these genes affected mutagen tolerance, we named them mus-59 and mus-58, respectively. The mus-58 mutant was sensitive to hydroxyurea (HU), but the mus-59 and prd-4 mutants showed the same HU sensitivity as that of the wild-type strain. This indicates the possibility that MUS-58 is involved in replication checkpoint and stabilization of stalled forks like mammalian CHK1. Phosphorylation of MUS-58 and MUS-59 was observed in the wild-type strain in response to mutagen treatments. Genetic relationships between those three genes and mus-9 or mus-21 indicated that the mus-9 mutation was epistatic to mus-58, and mus-21 was epistatic to prd-4. These relationships correspond to two signal pathways, ATR-CHK1 and ATM-CHK2 that have been established in mammalian cells. However, both the mus-9 mus-59 and mus-21 mus-58 double mutants showed an intermediate level between the two parental strains for CPT sensitivity. Furthermore, these double mutants showed severe growth defects. Our findings suggest that the DNA damage checkpoint of N. crassa is controlled by unique mechanisms.

MeSH terms

  • Blotting, Western
  • Cell Cycle Proteins / genetics
  • Cell Cycle Proteins / metabolism*
  • Cell Survival / drug effects
  • Checkpoint Kinase 1
  • Checkpoint Kinase 2
  • Colony-Forming Units Assay
  • DNA Damage / drug effects
  • DNA Repair Enzymes / metabolism
  • DNA Replication / drug effects
  • Fungal Proteins / genetics
  • Fungal Proteins / metabolism*
  • Immunoprecipitation
  • Mutagens / pharmacology
  • Mutation / genetics
  • Neurospora crassa / genetics
  • Neurospora crassa / metabolism*
  • Protein Kinases / genetics*
  • Protein Kinases / metabolism
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases / genetics*
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction*


  • Cell Cycle Proteins
  • Fungal Proteins
  • Mutagens
  • Protein Kinases
  • Checkpoint Kinase 2
  • Checkpoint Kinase 1
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases
  • DNA Repair Enzymes