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Mol Cell. 2001 Jan;7(1):21-30.

Nucleosomes positioned by ORC facilitate the initiation of DNA replication.

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Department of Biology, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA.


The packaging of eukaryotic DNA into nucleosomes is a critical regulator of nuclear events. To address the interplay between chromatin and replication initiation, we have assessed the determinants and function of the nucleosomal configuration of S. cerevisiae replication origins. Using in vitro and in vivo assays, we demonstrate that the yeast initiator, the origin recognition complex (ORC), is required to maintain the nucleosomal configuration adjacent to origins. Disruption of the ORC-directed nucleosomal arrangement at an origin interferes with initiation of replication, but does not alter the association of ORC with the origin. Instead, the nucleosomes positioned by ORC are important for prereplicative complex formation. These findings suggest that origin-proximal nucleosomes facilitate replication initiation, and that local chromatin structure affects origin function.

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