Chk2 is a serine/threonine kinase involved in the control of cell cycle checkpoints, and may also participate in transduction of the DNA damage and replicational stress signals. Chk2 is the mammalian ortholog of the budding yeast Rad53 and fission yeast Cds1 checkpoint kinases. The amino-terminal domain of Chk2 contains a series of seven serine and threonine residues (Ser19, Thr26, Ser28, Ser33, Ser35, Ser50 and Thr68) followed by glutamine (SQ or TQ motif). These are known to be preferred sites for phosphorylation by ATM/ATR kinases. Indeed, after DNA damage by ionizing radiation (IR), UV irradiation or hydroxyurea treatment, Thr68 and other sites in this region become phosphorylated by ATM/ATR. The SQ/TQ cluster domain, therefore, seems to have a regulatory function. Phosphorylation at Thr68 is a prerequisite for the subsequent activation step, which is attributable to autophosphorylation of Chk2 on residues Thr383 and Thr387 in the activation loop of the kinase domain. Chk2 inhibits CDC25C phosphatase by phosphorylating it on Ser-216, preventing the entry into mitosis. This kinase may have a role in meiosis as well. Kinase activity is up regulated by autophosphorylation and the protein is rapidly phosphorylated in response to DNA damage and to replication block.
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