Regulation of chk1

Cell Div. 2009 Apr 29;4:8. doi: 10.1186/1747-1028-4-8.


Chk1 is a serine/threonine protein kinase that is the effector of the G2 DNA damage checkpoint. Chk1 homologs have a highly conserved N-terminal kinase domain, and a less conserved C-terminal regulatory domain of ~200 residues. In response to a variety of genomic lesions, a number of proteins collaborate to activate Chk1, which in turn ensures that the mitotic cyclin-dependent kinase Cdc2 remains in an inactive state until DNA repair is completed. Chk1 activation requires the phosphorylation of residues in the C-terminal domain, and this is catalyzed by the ATR protein kinase. How phosphorylation of the C-terminal regulatory domain activates the N-terminal kinase domain has not been elucidated, though some studies have suggested that this phosphorylation relieves an inhibitory intramolecular interaction between the N- and C-termini. However, recent studies in the fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe have revealed that there is more to Chk1 regulation than this auto-inhibition model, and we review these findings and their implication to the biology of this genome integrity determinant.