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Mol Cell. 2001 May;7(5):971-80.

DNA replication-dependent formation of joint DNA molecules in Physarum polycephalum.

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Institut André Lwoff, UPR-1983, Laboratoire Organisation Fonctionnelle du Noyau, 94801 Villejuif, France.


Two-dimensional neutral/neutral agarose gel electrophoresis is used extensively to localize replication origins. This method resolves DNA structures containing replication forks. It also detects X-shaped recombination intermediates in meiotic cells, in the form of a typical vertical spike. Intriguingly, such a spike of joint DNA molecules is often detectable in replicating DNA from mitotic cells. Here, we used naturally synchronous DNA samples from Physarum polycephalum to demonstrate that postreplicative, DNA replication-dependent X-shaped DNA molecules are formed between sister chromatids. These molecules have physical properties reminiscent of Holliday junctions. Our results demonstrate frequent interactions between sister chromatids during a normal cell cycle and suggest a novel phase during DNA replication consisting of transient, joint DNA molecules formed on newly replicated DNA.

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