Chk1 KA1 domain auto-phosphorylation stimulates biological activity and is linked to rapid proteasomal degradation

Sci Rep. 2018 Dec 3;8(1):17536. doi: 10.1038/s41598-018-35616-9.


The DNA damage-activated protein kinase Chk1 is known to undergo auto-phosphorylation, however the sites and functional significance of this modification remain poorly understood. We have identified two novel Chk1 auto-phosphorylation sites, threonines 378 and 382 (T378/382), located in a highly conserved motif within the C-terminal Kinase Associated 1 (KA1) domain. T378/382 occur within optimal consensus Chk1 phosphorylation motifs and substitution with phospho-mimetic aspartic acid residues results in a constitutively active mutant Chk1 kinase (Chk1-DD) that arrests cell cycle progression in G2 phase of the cell cycle in the absence of DNA damage. Remarkably, the mutant Chk1-DD protein is also subject to very rapid proteasomal degradation, with a half-life approximately one tenth that of wild-type Chk1. Consistent with this, T378/T382 auto-phosphorylation also accelerates the proteasomal degradation of constitutively active Chk1 KA1 domain structural mutants. T378/382 auto-phosphorylation and accelerated degradation of wild-type Chk1 occurs at low levels during unperturbed growth, but surprisingly, is not augmented in response to genotoxic stress. Taken together, these observations demonstrate that Chk1 T378/T382 auto-phosphorylation within the KA1 domain is linked to kinase activation and rapid proteasomal degradation, and suggest a non-canonical mechanism of regulation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Motifs
  • Cell Line, Transformed
  • Checkpoint Kinase 1 / genetics
  • Checkpoint Kinase 1 / metabolism*
  • G2 Phase Cell Cycle Checkpoints*
  • Humans
  • Mutation
  • Phosphorylation
  • Proteasome Endopeptidase Complex / genetics
  • Proteasome Endopeptidase Complex / metabolism*
  • Protein Domains
  • Proteolysis*


  • CHEK1 protein, human
  • Checkpoint Kinase 1
  • Proteasome Endopeptidase Complex