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Methods. 1999 Jul;18(3):407-17.

Chorion gene amplification in Drosophila: A model for metazoan origins of DNA replication and S-phase control.

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Howard Hughes Medical Institute Research Laboratories, Carnegie Institution of Washington, Baltimore, Maryland 21210, USA.


The mechanisms controlling duplication of the metazoan genome are only beginning to be understood. It is still unclear what organization of DNA sequences constitutes a chromosomal origin of DNA replication, and the regulation of origin activity during the cell cycle has not been fully revealed. We review recent results that indicate that chorion gene amplification in follicle cells of the Drosophila ovary is a model for investigating metazoan replication. Evaluation of cis sequence organization and function suggests that chorion loci share attributes with other replicons and provides insights into metazoan origin structure. Moreover, recent results indicate that chorion origins respond to S-phase control, but escape mechanisms that inhibit other origins from firing more than once in a cell cycle. Several identified genes that mediate amplification are critical for the cell cycle control of replication initiation. It is likely that further genetic screens for mutations that disrupt amplification will identify the cadre of proteins associated with origins and the regulatory pathways that control their activity. Furthermore, the recent development of methods to detect amplification in situ has uncovered new aspects of its developmental control. Examining this control will reveal links between developmental pathways and the cell cycle machinery. Visualization of amplifying chorion genes with high resolution also represents an opportunity to evaluate the influence of nuclear and chromosome structure on origin activity. The study of chorion amplification in Drosophila, therefore, provides great potential for the genetic and molecular dissection of metazoan replication.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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