DNA damage and cell cycle regulation of ribonucleotide reductase

Bioessays. 1993 May;15(5):333-9. doi: 10.1002/bies.950150507.


Ribonucleotide reductase (RNR) catalyzes the rate limiting step in the production of deoxyribonucleotides needed for DNA synthesis. In addition to the well documented allosteric regulation, the synthesis of the enzyme is also tightly regulated at the level of transcription. mRNAs for both subunits are cell cycle regulated and inducible by DNA damage in all organisms examined, including E. coli, S. cerevisiae and H. sapiens. This DNA damage regulation is thought to provide a metabolic state that facilitates DNA replicational repair processes. S. cerevisiae also encodes a second large subunit gene, RNR3, that is expressed only in the presence of DNA damage. Genetic analysis of the DNA damage response in S. cerevisiae has shown that RNR expression is under both positive and negative control. Among mutants constitutive for RNR expression are the general transcriptional repression genes, SSN6 and TUP1. Mutations in POL1 and POL3 also activate RNR expression, indicating that the DNA damage sensory network may respond directly to blocks in DNA synthesis. A protein kinase, Dun1, has been identified that controls inducibility of RNR1, RNR2 and RNR3 in response to DNA damage and replication blocks. This result suggests that the RNR genes in S. cerevisiae form a regulon that is coordinately regulated by protein phosphorylation in response to DNA damage.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Allosteric Regulation
  • Cell Cycle*
  • DNA Damage*
  • DNA Repair
  • Fungal Proteins / genetics
  • Fungal Proteins / metabolism*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Enzymologic
  • Genes, Fungal*
  • Mutation
  • Phosphorylation
  • Protein Processing, Post-Translational
  • RNA, Fungal / genetics
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • Ribonucleotide Reductases / genetics
  • Ribonucleotide Reductases / metabolism*
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / cytology
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / enzymology*
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / genetics
  • Transcription, Genetic


  • Fungal Proteins
  • RNA, Fungal
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Ribonucleotide Reductases