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Institute for Research in Biomedicine
Istituto di Ricerca in Biomedicina

Via Vincenzo Vela 6 - CH-6500 Bellinzona
Tel. +41 91 820 0300 - Fax +41 91 820 0302 - info [at] irb [dot] usi [dot] ch

Petr Cejka, PhD

Recombination Mechanisms

Group Leader

Via Vela, 6
6500 Bellinzona, Switzerland


Petr Cejka received his Master’s degree in 2000 from the Charles University in Prague and PhD in 2004 from the University of Zurich. During his PhD studies with Prof. Josef Jiricny, Petr Cejka studied the function of the mismatch repair system in human cells, as well as how mismatch repair mediates the sensitivity of DNA methylating agents used in anti-cancer therapy. Petr Cejka then received a postdoctoral fellowship from the Swiss National Science Foundation to move to the laboratory of Prof. Stephen Kowalczykowski at University of California, Davis, US. Dr. Cejka received extensive training in protein biochemistry and contributed to our understanding of homologous recombination. In 2011, Petr Cejka was awarded Assistant Professorship from the Swiss National Science Foundation and returned to the University of Zurich. Dr. Cejka then established his own independent research group. The research in Dr. Cejka’s laboratory is focused on various steps in the homologous recombination pathway. For his scientific achievements, Dr. Cejka received the Dr. Ernst Th. Jucker Award 2015 for contributions to cancer research. In 2016, Dr. Cejka received an ERC consolidator grant and moved to the Institute for Research in Biomedicine.

Promotion of genetic diversity in meiosis: resolution of recombination intermediates
Searching for a homologous partner: DNA strand exchange
First steps in homologous recombination: DNA end resection
The motor activity of DNA2 functions as an ssDNA translocase to promote DNA end resection
M. Levikova, C. Pinto, P. Cejka
in Genes Dev (2017) vol. 31 pp493-502
The Mre11-Nbs1 Interface Is Essential for Viability and Tumor Suppression
J. H. Kim, M. Grosbart, R. Anand, C. Wyman, P. Cejka, J. H. Petrini
in Cell Rep (2017) vol. 18 pp496-507
Concerted action of the MutLbeta heterodimer and Mer3 helicase regulates the global extent of meiotic gene conversion
Y. Duroc, R. Kumar, L. Ranjha, C. Adam, R. Guerois, K. Md Muntaz, M. C. Marsolier-Kergoat, F. Dingli, R. Laureau, D. Loew, B. Llorente, J. B. Charbonnier, P. Cejka, V. Borde
in Elife (2017) vol. 6
Phosphorylated CtIP Functions as a Co-factor of the MRE11-RAD50-NBS1 Endonuclease in DNA End Resection
R. Anand, L. Ranjha, E. Cannavo, P. Cejka
in Mol Cell (2016)
The MMS22L-TONSL heterodimer directly promotes RAD51-dependent recombination upon replication stress
W. Piwko, L. J. Mlejnkova, K. Mutreja, L. Ranjha, D. Stafa, A. Smirnov, M. M. Brodersen, R. Zellweger, A. Sturzenegger, P. Janscak, M. Lopes, M. Peter, P. Cejka
in EMBO J (2016)
Replication intermediates that escape Dna2 activity are processed by Holliday junction resolvase Yen1
G. Olmezer, M. Levikova, D. Klein, B. Falquet, G. A. Fontana, P. Cejka, U. Rass
in Nat Commun (2016) vol. 7 pp13157
Xrs2 Dependent and Independent Functions of the Mre11-Rad50 Complex
J. Oh, A. Al-Zain, E. Cannavo, P. Cejka, L. S. Symington
in Mol Cell (2016)
Human DNA2 possesses a cryptic DNA unwinding activity that functionally integrates with BLM or WRN helicases
C. Pinto, K. Kasaciunaite, R. Seidel, P. Cejka
in Elife (2016) vol. 5
Force regulated dynamics of RPA on a DNA fork
F. E. Kemmerich, P. Daldrop, C. Pinto, M. Levikova, P. Cejka, R. Seidel
in Nucleic Acids Res (2016) vol. 44 pp5837-48
H4K20me0 marks post-replicative chromatin and recruits the TONSL-MMS22L DNA repair complex
G. Saredi, H. Huang, C. M. Hammond, C. Alabert, S. Bekker-Jensen, I. Forne, N. Reveron-Gomez, B. M. Foster, L. Mlejnkova, T. Bartke, P. Cejka, N. Mailand, A. Imhof, D. J. Patel, A. Groth
in Nature (2016) vol. 534 pp714-8
RECQL4 Promotes DNA End Resection in Repair of DNA Double-Strand Breaks
H. Lu, R. A. Shamanna, G. Keijzers, R. Anand, L. J. Rasmussen, P. Cejka, D. L. Croteau, V. A. Bohr
in Cell Rep (2016) vol. 16 pp161-73
DNA End Resection: Nucleases Team Up with the Right Partners to Initiate Homologous Recombination
P. Cejka
in J Biol Chem (2015) vol. 290 pp22931-8
The Saccharomyces cerevisiae Dna2 can function as a sole nuclease in the processing of Okazaki fragments in DNA replication
M. Levikova, P. Cejka
in Nucleic Acids Res (2015) vol. 43 pp7888-97
DNA2 drives processing and restart of reversed replication forks in human cells
S. Thangavel, M. Berti, M. Levikova, C. Pinto, S. Gomathinayagam, M. Vujanovic, R. Zellweger, H. Moore, E. H. Lee, E. A. Hendrickson, P. Cejka, S. Stewart, M. Lopes, A. Vindigni
in J Cell Biol (2015) vol. 208 pp545-62
Top3-Rmi1 dissolve Rad51-mediated D loops by a topoisomerase-based mechanism
C. L. Fasching, P. Cejka, S. C. Kowalczykowski, W. D. Heyer
in Mol Cell (2015) vol. 57 pp595-606
Sae2 promotes dsDNA endonuclease activity within Mre11-Rad50-Xrs2 to resect DNA breaks
E. Cannavo, P. Cejka
in Nature (2014) vol. 514 pp122-5
DNA2 cooperates with the WRN and BLM RecQ helicases to mediate long-range DNA end resection in human cells
A. Sturzenegger, K. Burdova, R. Kanagaraj, M. Levikova, C. Pinto, P. Cejka, P. Janscak
in J Biol Chem (2014) vol. 289 pp27314-26
Structural and mechanistic insight into Holliday-junction dissolution by topoisomerase IIIalpha and RMI1
N. Bocquet, A. H. Bizard, W. Abdulrahman, N. B. Larsen, M. Faty, S. Cavadini, R. D. Bunker, S. C. Kowalczykowski, P. Cejka, I. D. Hickson, N. H. Thoma
in Nat Struct Mol Biol (2014) vol. 21 pp261-8
The Saccharomyces cerevisiae Mlh1-Mlh3 heterodimer is an endonuclease that preferentially binds to Holliday junctions
L. Ranjha, R. Anand, P. Cejka
in J Biol Chem (2014) vol. 289 pp5674-86
Nuclease activity of Saccharomyces cerevisiae Dna2 inhibits its potent DNA helicase activity
M. Levikova, D. Klaue, R. Seidel, P. Cejka
in Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A (2013) vol. 110 ppE1992-2001
Pif1 family helicases suppress genome instability at G-quadruplex motifs
K. Paeschke, M. L. Bochman, P. D. Garcia, P. Cejka, K. L. Friedman, S. C. Kowalczykowski, V. A. Zakian
in Nature (2013) vol. 497 pp458-62
Ribonucleotides misincorporated into DNA act as strand-discrimination signals in eukaryotic mismatch repair
M. M. Ghodgaonkar, F. Lazzaro, M. Olivera-Pimentel, M. Artola-Boran, P. Cejka, M. A. Reijns, A. P. Jackson, P. Plevani, M. Muzi-Falconi, J. Jiricny
in Mol Cell (2013) vol. 50 pp323-32
Relationship of DNA degradation by Saccharomyces cerevisiae exonuclease 1 and its stimulation by RPA and Mre11-Rad50-Xrs2 to DNA end resection
E. Cannavo, P. Cejka, S. C. Kowalczykowski
in Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A (2013) vol. 110 ppE1661-8
Decatenation of DNA by the S. cerevisiae Sgs1-Top3-Rmi1 and RPA complex: a mechanism for disentangling chromosomes
P. Cejka, J. L. Plank, C. C. Dombrowski, S. C. Kowalczykowski
in Mol Cell (2012) vol. 47 pp886-96
* Recommended by the Faculty of 1000
Rmi1 stimulates decatenation of double Holliday junctions during dissolution by Sgs1-Top3
P. Cejka, J. L. Plank, C. Z. Bachrati, I. D. Hickson, S. C. Kowalczykowski
in Nat Struct Mol Biol (2010) vol. 17 pp1377-82
DNA end resection by Dna2-Sgs1-RPA and its stimulation by Top3-Rmi1 and Mre11-Rad50-Xrs2
P. Cejka, E. Cannavo, P. Polaczek, T. Masuda-Sasa, S. Pokharel, J. L. Campbell, S. C. Kowalczykowski
in Nature (2010) vol. 467 pp112-6
The full-length Saccharomyces cerevisiae Sgs1 protein is a vigorous DNA helicase that preferentially unwinds holliday junctions
P. Cejka, S. C. Kowalczykowski
in J Biol Chem (2010) vol. 285 pp8290-301
Interplay of DNA repair pathways controls methylation damage toxicity in Saccharomyces cerevisiae
P. Cejka, J. Jiricny
in Genetics (2008) vol. 179 pp1835-44
Expression of the MutL homologue hMLH3 in human cells and its role in DNA mismatch repair
E. Cannavo, G. Marra, J. Sabates-Bellver, M. Menigatti, S. M. Lipkin, F. Fischer, P. Cejka, J. Jiricny
in Cancer Res (2005) vol. 65 pp10759-66
Homologous recombination rescues mismatch-repair-dependent cytotoxicity of S(N)1-type methylating agents in S. cerevisiae
P. Cejka, N. Mojas, L. Gillet, P. Schar, J. Jiricny
in Curr Biol (2005) vol. 15 pp1395-400
Somatic hypermutation and mismatch repair in non-B cells
M. Klasen, F. J. Spillmann, G. Marra, P. Cejka, M. Wabl
in Eur J Immunol (2005) vol. 35 pp2222-9
High doses of SN1 type methylating agents activate DNA damage signaling cascades that are largely independent of mismatch repair
L. Stojic, P. Cejka, J. Jiricny
in Cell Cycle (2005) vol. 4 pp473-7
Mismatch repair-dependent G2 checkpoint induced by low doses of SN1 type methylating agents requires the ATR kinase
L. Stojic, N. Mojas, P. Cejka, M. di Pietro, S. Ferrari, G. Marra, J. Jiricny
in Genes Dev (2004) vol. 18 pp1331-44
Dependence of the cytotoxicity of DNA-damaging agents on the mismatch repair status of human cells
E. Papouli, P. Cejka, J. Jiricny
in Cancer Res (2004) vol. 64 pp3391-4
Is mismatch repair really required for ionizing radiation-induced DNA damage signaling?
P. Cejka, L. Stojic, G. Marra, J. Jiricny
in Nat Genet (2004) vol. 36 pp432-3; author reply 434
Differential killing of mismatch repair-deficient and -proficient cells: towards the therapy of tumors with microsatellite instability
P. Cejka, G. Marra, C. Hemmerle, E. Cannavo, Z. Storchova, J. Jiricny
in Cancer Res (2003) vol. 63 pp8113-7
Mismatch repair-dependent transcriptome changes in human cells treated with the methylating agent N-methyl-n'-nitro-N-nitrosoguanidine
M. di Pietro, G. Marra, P. Cejka, L. Stojic, M. Menigatti, M. S. Cattaruzza, J. Jiricny
in Cancer Res (2003) vol. 63 pp8158-66
Methylation-induced G(2)/M arrest requires a full complement of the mismatch repair protein hMLH1
P. Cejka, L. Stojic, N. Mojas, A. M. Russell, K. Heinimann, E. Cannavo, M. di Pietro, G. Marra, J. Jiricny
in EMBO J (2003) vol. 22 pp2245-54
Dissection of the functions of the Saccharomyces cerevisiae RAD6 postreplicative repair group in mutagenesis and UV sensitivity
P. Cejka, V. Vondrejs, Z. Storchova
in Genetics (2001) vol. 159 pp953-63