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Mol Cell Biol. 1999 Oct;19(10):6699-709.

Clustered adenine/thymine stretches are essential for function of a fission yeast replication origin.

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Department of Biology, Graduate School of Science, Osaka University, Toyonaka, Japan.


We have determined functional elements required for autonomous replication of the Schizosaccharomyces pombe ars2004 that acts as an intrinsic chromosomal replication origin. Internal deletion analysis of a 940-bp fragment (ars2004M) showed three regions, I to III, to be required for autonomously replicating sequence (ARS) activity. Eight-base-pair substitutions in the 40-bp region I, composed of arrays of adenines on a DNA strand, resulted in a great reduction of ARS activity. Substitutions of region I with synthetic sequences showed that no specific sequence but rather repeats of three or more consecutive adenines or thymines, without interruption by guanine or cytosine, are required for the ARS activity. The 65-bp region III contains 11 repeats of the AAAAT sequence, while the 165-bp region II has short adenine or thymine stretches and a guanine- and cytosine-rich region which enhances ARS activity. All three regions in ars2004M can be replaced with 40-bp poly(dA/dT) fragments without reduction of ARS activity. Although spacer regions in the ars2004M enhance ARS activity, all could be deleted when an 40-bp poly(dA/dT) fragment was added in place of region I. Our results suggest that the origin activity of fission yeast replicators depends on the number of adenine/thymine stretches, the extent of their clustering, and presence of certain replication-enhancing elements.

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