A dominant-negative MEC3 mutant uncovers new functions for the Rad17 complex and Tel1

Michele Giannattasio, Elena Sommariva, Raffaella Vercillo, Filippo Lippi-Boncambi, Giordano Liberi, Marco Foiani, Paolo Plevani, Marco Muzi-Falconi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The Rad17-Mec3-Ddc1 complex is essential for the cellular response to genotoxic agents and is thought to be important for sensing DNA lesions. Deletion of any of the RAD17, MEC3 or DDC1 genes abolishes the G1 and G2 and impairs the intra-S DNA-damage checkpoints. We characterize a dominant-negative mec3-dn mutation that has an unexpected phenotype. It inactivates the G1 checkpoint while it leaves the G2 response functional, thus revealing a difference in the requirements of the DNA-damage response in different phases of the cell cycle. In an attempt to identify the molecular defect imparted by the mutation, we dissected step-by-step the signaling cascade, which is triggered by DNA lesions and requires the activity of Mec1 and Rad53 kinases. The analysis of the phosphorylation state of checkpoint factors and critical protein interactions showed that, in mec3-dn cells, the signal transduction cascade is triggered normally, and the central kinase Mec1 can be activated. In G1 cells expressing the mutation, the signaling cannot proceed any further along the pathway, indicating that the Rad17 complex acts after the activation of Mec1, possibly recruiting targets for the kinase. We also show that the function of the G2 checkpoint in mutant cells is maintained by an uncharacterized activity of Tel1, the yeast homologue of ATM. This work thus reports a previously undiscovered role for Tel1 in checkpoint control.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)12997-13002
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number20
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • General


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