The ataxia telangiectasia mutated and Rad3-related (ATR)-CHK1 pathway is the major signalling cascade activated in response to DNA replication stress. This pathway is associated with the core of the DNA replication machinery comprising CDC45, the replicative MCM2-7 hexamer, GINS (altogether forming the CMG complex), primase–polymerase (POLε, -α, and -δ) complex, and additional fork protection factors such as AND-1, CLASPIN (CLSPN), and TIMELESS/TIPIN. In this study, we report that functional protein kinase CK2α is critical for preserving replisome integrity and for mounting S-phase checkpoint signalling. We find that CDC45, CLSPN and MCM7 are novel CK2α interacting partners and these interactions are particularly important for maintenance of stable MCM7–CDC45, ATRIP–ATR–MCM7, and ATR–CLSPN protein complexes. Consistently, cells depleted of CK2α and treated with hydroxyurea display compromised replisome integrity, reduced chromatin binding of checkpoint mediator CLSPN, attenuated ATR-mediated S-phase checkpoint and delayed recovery of stalled forks. In further support of this, differential gene expression analysis by RNA-sequencing revealed that down-regulation of CK2α accompanies global shutdown of genes that are implicated in the S-phase checkpoint. These findings add to our understanding of the molecular mechanisms involved in DNA replication by showing that the protein kinase CK2α is essential for maintaining the stability of the replisome machinery and for optimizing ATR-CHK1 signalling activation upon replication stress.
- Ataxia Telangiectasia Mutated Proteins/metabolism
- Cell Cycle Proteins/metabolism
- Checkpoint Kinase 1/genetics
- DNA Replication
- Nuclear Proteins/metabolism
- Protein Kinases/metabolism
- S-phase checkpoint