The Cdc25A phosphatase is essential for cell-cycle progression because of its function in dephosphorylating cyclin-dependent kinases. In response to DNA damage or stalled replication, the ATM and ATR protein kinases activate the checkpoint kinases Chk1 and Chk2, which leads to hyperphosphorylation of Cdc25A. These events stimulate the ubiquitin-mediated proteolysis of Cdc25A and contribute to delaying cell-cycle progression, thereby preventing genomic instability. Here we report that beta-TrCP is the F-box protein that targets phosphorylated Cdc25A for degradation by the Skp1/Cul1/F-box protein complex. Downregulation of beta-TrCP1 and beta-TrCP2 expression by short interfering RNAs causes an accumulation of Cdc25A in cells progressing through S phase and prevents the degradation of Cdc25A induced by ionizing radiation, indicating that beta-TrCP may function in the intra-S-phase checkpoint. Consistent with this hypothesis, suppression of beta-TrCP expression results in radioresistant DNA synthesis in response to DNA damage--a phenotype indicative of a defect in the intra-S-phase checkpoint that is associated with an inability to regulate Cdc25A properly. Our results show that beta-TrCP has a crucial role in mediating the response to DNA damage through Cdc25A degradation.
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