Cyclin-dependent kinase (CDK) plays essential roles in the initiation of DNA replication in eukaryotes. Although interactions of CDK-phosphorylated Sld2/Drc1 and Sld3 with Dpb11 have been shown to be essential in budding yeast, it is not known whether the mechanism is conserved. In this study, we investigated how CDK promotes the assembly of replication proteins onto replication origins in fission yeast. Phosphorylation of Sld3 was found to be dependent on CDK in S phase. Alanine substitutions at CDK sites decreased the interaction with Cut5/Dpb11 at the N-terminal BRCT motifs and decreased the loading of Cut5 onto replication origins. This defect was suppressed by overexpression of drc1(+). Phosphorylation of a conserved CDK site, Thr-111, in Drc1 was critical for interaction with Cut5 at the C-terminal BRCT motifs and was required for loading of Cut5. In a yeast three-hybrid assay, Sld3, Cut5, and Drc1 were found to form a ternary complex dependent on the CDK sites of Sld3 and Drc1, and Drc1-Cut5 binding enhanced the Sld3-Cut5 interaction. These results show that the mechanism of CDK-dependent loading of Cut5 is conserved in fission yeast in a manner similar to that elucidated in budding yeast.
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