Xenopus Cdc7 executes its essential function early in S phase and is counteracted by checkpoint-regulated protein phosphatase 1.
ABSTRACT: The initiation of DNA replication requires two protein kinases: cyclin-dependent kinase (Cdk) and Cdc7. Although S phase Cdk activity has been intensively studied, relatively little is known about how Cdc7 regulates progression through S phase. We have used a Cdc7 inhibitor, PHA-767491, to dissect the role of Cdc7 in Xenopus egg extracts. We show that hyperphosphorylation of mini-chromosome maintenance (MCM) proteins by Cdc7 is required for the initiation, but not for the elongation, of replication forks. Unlike Cdks, we demonstrate that Cdc7 executes its essential functions by phosphorylating MCM proteins at virtually all replication origins early in S phase and is not limiting for progression through the Xenopus replication timing programme. We demonstrate that protein phosphatase 1 (PP1) is recruited to chromatin and rapidly reverses Cdc7-mediated MCM hyperphosphorylation. Checkpoint kinases induced by DNA damage or replication inhibition promote the association of PP1 with chromatin and increase the rate of MCM dephosphorylation, thereby counteracting the previously completed Cdc7 functions and inhibiting replication initiation. This novel mechanism for regulating Cdc7 function provides an explanation for previous contradictory results concerning the control of Cdc7 by checkpoint kinases and has implications for the use of Cdc7 inhibitors as anti-cancer agents.
Project description:Dbf4-dependent kinases (DDKs) are required for the initiation of DNA replication, their essential targets being the MCM2-7 proteins. We show that, in Xenopus laevis egg extracts and human cells, hyper-phosphorylation of DNA-bound Mcm4, but not phosphorylation of Mcm2, correlates with DNA replication. These phosphorylations are differentially affected by the DDK inhibitors PHA-767491 and XL413. We show that DDK-dependent MCM phosphorylation is reversed by protein phosphatase 1 (PP1) targeted to chromatin by Rif1. Loss of Rif1 increased MCM phosphorylation and the rate of replication initiation and also compromised the ability of cells to block initiation when challenged with replication inhibitors. We also provide evidence that Rif1 can mediate MCM dephosphorylation at replication forks and that the stability of dephosphorylated replisomes strongly depends on Chk1 activity. We propose that both replication initiation and replisome stability depend on MCM phosphorylation, which is maintained by a balance of DDK-dependent phosphorylation and Rif1-mediated dephosphorylation.
Project description:The initiation of eukaryotic DNA replication involves origin recruitment and activation of the MCM2-7 complex, the putative replicative helicase. Mini-chromosome maintenance (MCM)2-7 recruitment to origins in G1 requires origin recognition complex (ORC), Cdt1, and Cdc6, and activation at G1/S requires MCM10 and the protein kinases Cdc7 and S-Cdk, which together recruit Cdc45, a putative MCM2-7 cofactor required for origin unwinding. Here, we show that the Xenopus BRCA1 COOH terminus repeat-containing Xmus101 protein is required for loading of Cdc45 onto the origin. Xmus101 chromatin association is dependent on ORC, and independent of S-Cdk and MCM2-7. These results define a new factor that is required for Cdc45 loading. Additionally, these findings indicate that the initiation complex assembly pathway bifurcates early, after ORC association with the origin, and that two parallel pathways, one controlled by MCM2-7, and the other by Xmus101, cooperate to load Cdc45 onto the origin.
Project description:Robust progression through the cell-division cycle depends on the precisely ordered phosphorylation of hundreds of different proteins by cyclin-dependent kinases (CDKs) and other kinases. The order of CDK substrate phosphorylation depends on rising CDK activity, coupled with variations in substrate affinities for different CDK-cyclin complexes and the opposing phosphatases [1-4]. Here, we address the ordering of substrate phosphorylation by a second major cell-cycle kinase, Cdc7-Dbf4 or Dbf4-dependent kinase (DDK). The primary function of DDK is to initiate DNA replication by phosphorylating the Mcm2-7 replicative helicase [5-7]. DDK also phosphorylates the cohesin acetyltransferase Eco1 . Sequential phosphorylations of Eco1 by CDK, DDK, and Mck1 create a phosphodegron that is recognized by the ubiquitin ligase SCFCdc4. DDK, despite being activated in early S phase, does not phosphorylate Eco1 to trigger its degradation until late S phase . DDK associates with docking sites on loaded Mcm double hexamers at unfired replication origins [9, 10]. We hypothesized that these docking interactions sequester limiting amounts of DDK, delaying Eco1 phosphorylation by DDK until replication is complete. Consistent with this hypothesis, we find that overproduction of DDK leads to premature Eco1 degradation. Eco1 degradation also occurs prematurely if Mcm complex loading at origins is prevented by depletion of Cdc6, and Eco1 is stabilized if loaded Mcm complexes are prevented from firing by a Cdc45 mutant. We propose that the timing of Eco1 phosphorylation, and potentially that of other DDK substrates, is determined in part by sequestration of DDK at unfired replication origins during S phase.
Project description:Saccharomyces cerevisiae Cdc7 kinase is essential for initiation of DNA replication, and Hsk1, a related kinase of Schizosaccharomyces pombe, is also required for DNA replication of fission yeast cells. We report here cDNAs encoding Cdc7-related kinases from human and Xenopus (huCdc7 and xeCdc7, respectively). The cloned cDNA for huCdc7 contains an open reading frame consisting of 574 amino acids with a predicted molecular weight of 63,847 that possesses overall amino acid identity of 32% (54% including similar residues) to Cdc7 and Hsk1. huCDC7 is transcribed in the various tissues examined, but most abundantly in testis. Three transcripts of 4.4, 3.5 and 2.4 kb in length are detected. The 3.5 kb transcript is the most predominant and is expressed in all the tissues examined. A cDNA containing a 91 nucleotide insertion at the N-terminal region of huCDC7 is also detected, suggesting the presence of multiple splicing variants. The huCdc7 protein is expressed at a constant level during the mitotic cell cycle and is localized primarily in nuclei in interphase and distributed diffusibly in cytoplasm in the mitotic phase. The wild-type huCdc7 protein expressed in COS7 cells phosphorylates MCM2 and MCM3 proteins in vitro, suggesting that huCdc7 may regulate processes of DNA replication by modulating MCM functions.
Project description:T cell activation is mediated by signaling pathways originating from the T cell receptor (TCR). Propagation of signals downstream of the TCR involves a cascade of numerous kinases, some of which have yet to be identified. Through a screening strategy that we have previously introduced, PHA-767491, an inhibitor of the kinases Cdc7 and Cdk9, was identified to impede TCR signaling. PHA-767491 suppressed several T cell activation phenomena, including the expression of activation markers, proliferation, and effector functions. We also observed a defect in TCR signaling pathways upon PHA-767491 treatment. Inhibition of Cdc7/Cdk9 impairs T cell responses, which could potentially be detrimental for the immune response to tumors, and also compromises the ability to resist infections. The Cdc7/Cdk9 inhibitor is a strong candidate as a cancer therapeutic, but its effect on the immune system poses a problem for clinical applications.
Project description:Cdc7 is a serine/threonine kinase which is responsible for the 'firing' of replication origins leading to initiation of DNA replication. Inhibition or depletion of Cdc7 in normal cells triggers a DNA origin activation checkpoint causing a reversible G1 arrest. Here we investigate Cdc7 as a novel therapeutic target in pancreatic cancer.Cdc7 target validation was performed by immunoexpression profiling in a cohort of 73 patients with pancreatic adenocarcinoma including 24 controls. Secondly Cdc7 kinase was targeted in Capan-1 and PANC-1 pancreatic cancer cell line models using either an siRNA against Cdc7 or alternatively a small molecule inhibitor (SMI) of Cdc7 (PHA-767491).Cdc7 was significantly overexpressed in pancreatic adenocarcinoma compared to benign pancreatic tissue (median LI 34.3% vs. 1.3%; P<0.0001). Cdc7 knockdown using siRNA in Capan-1 and PANC-1 cells resulted in marked apoptotic cell death when compared with control cells. A prominent sub-G1 peak was seen on flow cytometry (sub-G1 51% vs. 3% and 45% vs. 0.7% in Capan-1 and PANC-1 cells, respectively). Annexin V labelling confirmed apoptosis in 64% vs. 11% and 75% vs. 8%, respectively. Western blotting showed cleavage of PARP-1 and caspase-3 and presence of ?H2A.X. TUNEL assay showed strong staining in treated cells. These results were mirrored following Cdc7 kinase inhibition with PHA-767491.Our findings show that Cdc7 is a potent anti-cancer target in pancreatic adenocarcinoma and that Cdc7 immunoexpression levels might be used as a companion diagnostic to predict response to therapeutic siRNAs or SMIs directed against this kinase.
Project description:Mcm2-7 is recruited to eukaryotic origins of DNA replication by origin recognition complex, Cdc6 and Cdt1 thereby licensing the origins. Cdc6 is essential for origin licensing during DNA replication and is readily destabilized from chromatin after Mcm2-7 loading. Here, we show that after origin licensing, deregulation of Cdc6 suppresses DNA replication in Xenopus egg extracts without the involvement of ATM/ATR-dependent checkpoint pathways. DNA replication is arrested specifically after chromatin binding of Cdc7, but before Cdk2-dependent pathways and deregulating Cdc6 after this step does not impair activation of origin firing or elongation. Detailed analyses revealed that Cdc6 deregulation leads to strong suppression of Cdc7-mediated hyperphosphorylation of Mcm4 and subsequent chromatin loading of Cdc45, Sld5 and DNA polymerase ?. Mcm2 phosphorylation is also repressed although to a lesser extent. Remarkably, Cdc6 itself does not directly inhibit Cdc7 kinase activity towards Mcm2-4-6-7 in purified systems, rather modulates Mcm2-7 phosphorylation on chromatin context. Taken together, we propose that Cdc6 on chromatin acts as a modulator of Cdc7-mediated phosphorylation of Mcm2-7, and thus destabilization of Cdc6 from chromatin after licensing is a key event ensuring proper transition to the initiation of DNA replication.
Project description:We have identified Xenopus homologs of the budding yeast Sld5 and its three interacting proteins. These form a novel complex essential for the initiation of DNA replication in Xenopus egg extracts. The complex binds to chromatin in a manner dependent on replication licensing and S-phase CDK. The chromatin binding of the complex and that of Cdc45 are mutually dependent and both bindings require Xenopus Cut5, the yeast homolog of which interacts with Sld5. On replicating chromatin the complex interacts with Cdc45 and MCM, putative components of replication machinery. Electron microscopy further reveals that the complex has a ring-like structure. These results suggest that the complex plays an essential role in the elongation stage of DNA replication as well as the initiation stage.
Project description:Origins of DNA replication are licensed in G1 by recruiting the minichromosome maintenance (MCM) proteins to form a prereplicative complex (pre-RC). Prior to initiation of DNA synthesis from each origin, a preinitiation complex (pre-IC) containing Cdc45 and other proteins is formed. We report that Cdc7-Dbf4 protein kinase (DDK) promotes assembly of a stable Cdc45-MCM complex exclusively on chromatin in S phase. In this complex, Mcm4 is hyperphosphorylated. Studies in vitro using purified DDK and Mcm4 demonstrate that hyperphosphorylation occurs at the Mcm4 N terminus. However, the DDK substrate specificity is conferred by an adjacent DDK-docking domain (DDD), sufficient for facilitating efficient phosphorylation of artificial phosphoacceptors in cis. Genetic evidence suggests that phosphorylation of Mcm4 by DDK is important for timely S phase progression and for cell viability upon overproduction of Cdc45. We suggest that DDK docks on and phosphorylates MCM proteins at licensed origins to promote proper assembly of pre-IC.
Project description:The human RIF1 protein controls DNA replication, but the molecular mechanism is largely unknown. Here, we demonstrate that human RIF1 negatively regulates DNA replication by forming a complex with protein phosphatase 1 (PP1) that limits phosphorylation-mediated activation of the MCM replicative helicase. We identify specific residues on four MCM helicase subunits that show hyperphosphorylation upon RIF1 depletion, with the regulatory N-terminal domain of MCM4 being particularly strongly affected. In addition to this role in limiting origin activation, we discover an unexpected new role for human RIF1-PP1 in mediating efficient origin licensing. Specifically, during the G1 phase of the cell cycle, RIF1-PP1 protects the origin-binding ORC1 protein from untimely phosphorylation and consequent degradation by the proteasome. Depletion of RIF1 or inhibition of PP1 destabilizes ORC1, thereby reducing origin licensing. Consistent with reduced origin licensing, RIF1-depleted cells exhibit increased spacing between active origins. Human RIF1 therefore acts as a PP1-targeting subunit that regulates DNA replication positively by stimulating the origin licensing step, and then negatively by counteracting replication origin activation.