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Mol Cell Biol. 2001 Aug;21(15):4938-48.

DNA replication forks pause at silent origins near the HML locus in budding yeast.

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  • 1Department of Cancer Genetics, Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Buffalo, New York 14263, USA.


Chromosomal replicators in budding yeast contain an autonomously replicating sequence (ARS) that functions in a plasmid, but certain ARSs are silent as replication origins in their natural chromosomal context. In chromosome III, the HML ARS cluster (ARS302-ARS303-ARS320) and ARS301 flank the transcriptionally silent mating-type locus HML, and all of these ARSs are silent as replication origins. ARS301 and ARS302 function in transcriptional silencing mediated by the origin recognition complex (ORC) and a heterochromatin structure, while the functions of ARS303 and ARS320 are not known. In this work, we discovered replication fork pause sites at the HML ARS cluster and ARS301 by analyzing DNA replication intermediates from the chromosome via two-dimensional gel electrophoresis. The replication fork pause at the HML ARS cluster was independent of cis- and trans-acting mutations that abrogate transcriptional silencing at HML. Deletion of the HML ARS cluster led to loss of the pause site. Insertion of a single, heterologous ARS (ARS305) in place of the HML ARS cluster reconstituted the pause site, as did multiple copies of DNA elements (A and B1) that bind ORC. The orc2-1 mutation, known to alter replication timing at origins, did not detectably affect the pause but activated the silent origin at the HML ARS cluster in a minority of cells. Delaying the time of fork arrival at HML led to the elimination of the pause sites at the HML ARS cluster and at the copy of ARS305 inserted in place of the cluster. Loss of the pause sites was accompanied by activation of the silent origins in the majority of cells. Thus, replication fork movement near HML pauses at a silent origin which is competent for replication initiation but kept silent through Orc2p, a component of the replication initiator. Possible functions for replication fork pause sites in checkpoints, S-phase regulation, mating-type switching, and transcriptionally silent heterochromatin are discussed.

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