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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2004 May 4;101(18):7046-51. Epub 2004 Apr 23.

Three replication origins in Sulfolobus species: synchronous initiation of chromosome replication and asynchronous termination.

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Department of Molecular Evolution, Evolutionary Biology Center, Uppsala University, Norbyvägen 18C, SE-752 36 Uppsala, Sweden.


Chromosome replication origins were mapped in vivo in the two hyperthermophilic archaea, Sulfolobus acidocaldarius and Sulfolobus solfataricus, by using microarray-based marker frequency analysis. Bidirectional replication was found to be initiated in near synchrony from three separate sites in both organisms. Two of the three replication origins in each species were located in the vicinity of a cdc6/orc1 replication initiation gene, whereas no known replication-associated gene could be identified near the third origin in either organism. In contrast to initiation, replication termination occurred asynchronously, such that certain replication forks continued to progress for >40 min after the others had terminated. In each species, all replication forks advanced at similar DNA polymerization rates; this was found to be an order of magnitude below that displayed by Escherichia coli and thus closer to eukaryotic elongation rates. In S. acidocaldarius, a region containing short regularly spaced repeats was found to hybridize aberrantly, as compared to the rest of the chromosome, raising the possibility of a centromere-like function.

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