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Publication Detail
Chk1 inhibits E2F6 repressor function
in response to replication stress
to maintain cell cycle transcription.
  • Publication Type:
    Journal article
  • Publication Sub Type:
  • Authors:
    Bertoli C, Klier S, McGowan C, Wittenberg C, De Bruin RAM
  • Publication date:
  • Journal:
    Current Biology
  • Language:
  • Keywords:
    G1/S cell cycle transcription, DNA replication checkpoint, Chk1, E2F6, DNA replication stress, Transcriptional response
Background In eukaryotic cells, detection of replication stress results in the activation of the DNA replication checkpoint, a signaling cascade whose central players are the kinases ATR and Chk1. The checkpoint response prevents the accumulation of DNA damage and ensures cell viability by delaying progression into mitosis. However, the role and mechanism of the replication checkpoint transcriptional response in human cells, which is p53-independent, is largely unknown. Results We show that, in response to DNA replication stress, the regular E2F-dependent cell cycle transcriptional program is maintained at high levels and we establish the mechanisms governing such transcriptional upregulation. E2F6, a repressor of E2F-dependent G1/S transcription, replaces the activating E2Fs at promoters to repress transcription in cells progressing into S-phase in unperturbed conditions. Following replication stress, the checkpoint kinase Chk1 phosphorylates E2F6 leading to its dissociation from promoters. This promotes E2F-dependent transcription, which mediates cell survival by preventing DNA damage and cell death. Conclusions This work reveals, for the first time, that the regular cell cycle transcriptional program is part of the DNA replication checkpoint response in human cells and establishes the molecular mechanism involved. We show that maintaining high levels of G1/S cell cycle transcription in response to replication stress contributes to two key functions of the DNA replication checkpoint response, namely preventing genomic instability and cell death. Given the critical role of replication stress in oncogene transformation, a detailed understanding of the molecular mechanisms involved in the checkpoint response will contribute to a better insight into cancer development.
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