In mammals, the RS response (RSR) is coordinated by ATR and Chk1 kinases.
We sought to develop a mammalian organism that is selectively protected from RS. To this end, mice carrying an extra copy of the Chk1 gene were generated.
In vitro, Chk1 transgenic cells are protected from RS-inducing agents. Moreover, an extra Chk1 allele prolongs the survival of ATR-Seckel mice, which suffer from high levels of RS, but not that of ATM-deficient mice, which accumulate DNA breaks. Surprisingly, increased Chk1 levels favor transformation, which we show is associated with a reduction in the levels of RS induced by oncogenes.
Our study provides the first example where supra-physiological levels of a tumor suppressor can promote malignant transformation, which is a result of the protection from the RS found in cancer cells.