PI-kinase-related protein kinase ATR forms a complex with ATRIP and plays pivotal roles in maintaining genome integrity. When DNA is damaged, the ATR-ATRIP complex is recruited to chromatin and is activated to transduce the checkpoint signal, but the precise kinase activation mechanism remains unknown. Here, we show that ATRIP is phosphorylated in an ATR-dependent manner after genotoxic stimuli. The serine 68 and 72 residues are important for the phosphorylation in vivo and are required exclusively for direct modification by ATR in vitro. Using phospho-specific antibody, we demonstrated that phosphorylated ATRIP accumulates at foci induced by DNA damage. Moreover, the loss of phosphorylation does not lead to detectable changes in the relocalization of ATRIP to nuclear foci nor in the activation of downstream effector proteins. Collectively, our results suggest that the ATR-mediated phosphorylation of ATRIP at Ser-68 and -72 is dispensable for the initial response to DNA damage.
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