DNA-damage response in the basidiomycete fungus Ustilago maydis relies in a sole Chk1-like kinase

DNA Repair (Amst). 2009 Jun 4;8(6):720-31. doi: 10.1016/j.dnarep.2009.01.023. Epub 2009 Mar 6.


Chk1 is a protein kinase that acts as a key signal transducer within the complex network responsible of the cellular response to different DNA damages. It is a conserved element along the eukaryotic kingdom, together with a second checkpoint kinase, called Chk2/Rad53. In fact, all organisms studied so far carried at least one copy of each kind of checkpoint kinase. Since the relative contribution to the DNA-damage response of each type of kinase varies from one organism to other, the current view about the roles of Chk1 and Chk2/Rad53 during DNA-damage response is one of mutual complementation and intimate cooperation. However, in this work it is reported that Ustilago maydis - a phytopathogenic fungus exhibiting extreme resistance to UV and ionizing radiation - have a single kinase belonging to the Chk1 family but strikingly no kinases related to Chk2/Rad53 family are apparent. The U. maydis Chk1 kinase is able to respond to different classes of DNA damages and its activity is required for the cellular adaptation to such damages. As other described components of the Chk1 family of kinases, U. maydis Chk1 is phosphorylated and translocated to nucleus in response to DNA-damage signals. Interestingly subtle differences in this response depending on the kind of DNA damage are apparent, suggesting that in U. maydis the sole Chk1 kinase recapitulates the roles that in other organisms are shared by Chk1 and the Chk2/Rad53 family of protein kinases.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antibiotics, Antineoplastic / pharmacology
  • Cell Nucleus / drug effects
  • Cell Nucleus / genetics*
  • Checkpoint Kinase 1
  • Checkpoint Kinase 2
  • DNA Damage*
  • DNA, Fungal / physiology*
  • Electrophoretic Mobility Shift Assay
  • Enzyme Inhibitors / pharmacology
  • G2 Phase / drug effects
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins / metabolism
  • Hydroxyurea / pharmacology
  • Phleomycins / pharmacology
  • Phosphorylation / drug effects
  • Phylogeny
  • Protein Kinases / physiology*
  • Protein Transport
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases / physiology
  • Ustilago / enzymology*
  • Ustilago / genetics*
  • Ustilago / growth & development


  • Antibiotics, Antineoplastic
  • DNA, Fungal
  • Enzyme Inhibitors
  • Phleomycins
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins
  • Protein Kinases
  • Checkpoint Kinase 2
  • Checkpoint Kinase 1
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases
  • Hydroxyurea