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PLoS Genet. 2006 Sep 8;2(9):e141. Epub 2006 Jul 25.

Genome-wide hierarchy of replication origin usage in Saccharomyces cerevisiae.

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Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, United States of America.


Replication origins in a genome are inherently different in their base sequence and in their response to temporal and cell cycle regulation signals for DNA replication. To investigate the chromosomal determinants that influence the efficiency of initiation of DNA replication genome-wide, we made use of a reverse strategy originally used for the isolation of replication initiation mutants in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. In yeast, replication origins isolated from chromosomes support the autonomous replication of plasmids. These replication origins, whether in the context of a chromosome or a plasmid, will initiate efficiently in wild-type cells but show a dramatically contrasted efficiency of activation in mutants defective in the early steps of replication initiation. Serial passages of a genomic library of autonomously replicating sequences (ARSs) in such a mutant allowed us to select for constitutively active ARSs. We found a hierarchy of preferential initiation of ARSs that correlates with local transcription patterns. This preferential usage is enhanced in mutants defective in the assembly of the prereplication complex (pre-RC) but not in mutants defective in the activation of the pre-RC. Our findings are consistent with an interference of local transcription with the assembly of the pre-RC at a majority of replication origins.

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