Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

Alvaro N. A. Monteiro, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Gary W. Litman, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Gary W. Reuther, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Kenneth L. Wright, Ph.D.


DNA damage response, phosphorylation, kinase, ionizing radiation, DNA double-strand break


Checkpoint kinase 2 (CHK2) is an effector kinase of the DNA damage response pathway and although its mechanism of activation has been well studied, the attenuation of its activity following DNA damage has not been explored. Here, we identify the B'α subunit of protein phosphatase 2A (PP2A), a major protein serine/threonine phosphatase of the cell, as a CHK2 binding partner and show that their interaction is modulated by DNA damage. B'α binds to the SQ/TQ cluster domain of CHK2, which is a target of ATM phosphorylation. CHK2 is able to bind to many B' subunits as well as the PP2A C subunit, indicating that it can bind to the active PP2A enzyme. The induction of DNA double-strand breaks by ionizing radiation (IR) as well as treatment with doxorubicin causes dissociation of the B'α and CHK2 proteins, however, it does not have an effect on the binding of B'α to CHK1. IR-induced dissociation is an early event and occurs in a dose-dependent manner. CHK2 and B'α can re-associate hours after DNA damage and this is not dependent upon the repair of the DNA. Dissociation is dependent on ATM activity and correlates with an increase in the ATM-dependent phosphorylation of CHK2 at serines 33 and 35 in the SQ/TQ region. Indeed, mutating these sites to mimic phosphorylation increases the dissociation after IR. CHK2 is able to phosphorylate B'α in vitro; however, in vivo, irradiation has no effect on PP2A activity or localization. Alternatively, PP2A negatively regulates CHK2 phosphorylation at multiple sites, as well as its kinase activity and protein stability. These data reveal a novel mechanism for PP2A to keep CHK2 inactive under normal conditions while also allowing for a rapid release from this regulation immediately following DNA damage. This is followed by a subsequent reconstitution of the PP2A/CHK2 complex in later time points after damage, which may help to attenuate the signal. This mechanism of CHK2 negative regulation by PP2A joins a growing list of negative regulations of DNA damage response proteins by protein serine/threonine phosphatases.