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Curr Biol. 2005 Jan 26;15(2):146-53.

Recombinant Cdt1 induces rereplication of G2 nuclei in Xenopus egg extracts.

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Institute of Human Genetics, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, 141 rue de la Cardonille, 34396 Montpellier, France.


A crucial regulation for maintaining genome integrity in eukaryotes is to limit DNA replication in S phase to only one round. Several models have been proposed; one of which, the licensing model, predicted that formation of the nuclear membrane restricts access to chromatin to a positive replication factor. Cdt1, a factor binding to origins and recruiting the MCM2-7 helicase, has been identified as a component of the licensing system in Xenopus and other eukaryotes. Nevertheless, evidence is missing demonstrating a direct role for unscheduled Cdt1 expression in promoting illegitimate reinitiation of DNA synthesis. We show here that Xenopus Cdt1 is absent in G2 nuclei, suggesting that it might be either degraded or exported. Recombinant Cdt1, added to egg extracts in G2, crosses the nuclear membrane, binds to chromatin, and relicenses the chromosome for new rounds of DNA synthesis in combination with chromatin bound Cdc6. The mechanism involves rebinding of MCM3 to chromatin. Reinitiation is blocked by geminin only in G2 and is not stimulated by Cdc6, demonstrating that Cdt1, but not Cdc6, is limiting for reinitiation in egg extracts. These results suggest that removal of Cdt1 from chromatin and its nuclear exclusion in G2 is critical in regulating licensing and that override of this control is sufficient to promote illegitimate firing of origins.

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