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EMBO J. 2010 Mar 3;29(5):934-42. doi: 10.1038/emboj.2009.411. Epub 2010 Jan 21.

Structural diversity and dynamics of genomic replication origins in Schizosaccharomyces pombe.

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  • 1Instituto de Microbiología Bioquímica, CSIC/Universidad de Salamanca, Edificio Departamental, Salamanca, Spain.


DNA replication origins (ORI) in Schizosaccharomyces pombe colocalize with adenine and thymine (A+T)-rich regions, and earlier analyses have established a size from 0.5 to over 3 kb for a DNA fragment to drive replication in plasmid assays. We have asked what are the requirements for ORI function in the chromosomal context. By designing artificial ORIs, we have found that A+T-rich fragments as short as 100 bp without homology to S. pombe DNA are able to initiate replication in the genome. On the other hand, functional dissection of endogenous ORIs has revealed that some of them span a few kilobases and include several modules that may be as short as 25-30 contiguous A+Ts capable of initiating replication from ectopic chromosome positions. The search for elements with these characteristics across the genome has uncovered an earlier unnoticed class of low-efficiency ORIs that fire late during S phase. These results indicate that ORI specification and dynamics varies widely in S. pombe, ranging from very short elements to large regions reminiscent of replication initiation zones in mammals.

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