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Genes Dev. 2000 Nov 15;14(22):2855-68.

Nuclear organization of DNA replication in primary mammalian cells.

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Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center, Charlestown, Massachusetts 02129, USA.


Using methods that conserve nuclear architecture, we have reanalyzed the spatial organization of the initiation of mammalian DNA synthesis. Contrary to the commonly held view that replication begins at hundreds of dispersed nuclear sites, primary fibroblasts initiate synthesis in a limited number of foci that contain replication proteins, surround the nucleolus, and overlap with previously identified internal lamin A/C structures. These foci are established in early G(1)-phase and also contain members of the retinoblastoma protein family. Later, in S-phase, DNA replication sites distribute to regions located throughout the nucleus. As this progression occurs, association with the lamin structure and pRB family members is lost. A similar temporal progression is found in all the primary cells we have examined but not in most established cell lines, indicating that the immortalization process modifies spatial control of DNA replication. These findings indicate that in normal mammalian cells, the onset of DNA synthesis is coordinately regulated at a small number of previously unrecognized perinucleolar sites that are selected in early G(1)-phase.

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