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EMBO J. 2006 Dec 13;25(24):5764-74. Epub 2006 Nov 23.

A Cdt1-geminin complex licenses chromatin for DNA replication and prevents rereplication during S phase in Xenopus.

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Institute of Human Genetics, CNRS, Genome Dynamics and Development, 141 rue de la Cardonille, Montpellier 34396, France.


Initiation of DNA synthesis involves the loading of the MCM2-7 helicase onto chromatin by Cdt1 (origin licensing). Geminin is thought to prevent relicensing by binding and inhibiting Cdt1. Here we show, using Xenopus egg extracts, that geminin binding to Cdt1 is not sufficient to block its activity and that a Cdt1-geminin complex licenses chromatin, but prevents rereplication, working as a molecular switch at replication origins. We demonstrate that geminin is recruited to chromatin already during licensing, while bulk geminin is recruited at the onset of S phase. A recombinant Cdt1-geminin complex binds chromatin, interacts with the MCM2-7 complex and licenses chromatin once per cell cycle. Accordingly, while recombinant Cdt1 induces rereplication in G1 or G2 and activates an ATM/ATR-dependent checkpoint, the Cdt1-geminin complex does not. We further demonstrate that the stoichiometry of the Cdt1-geminin complex regulates its activity. Our results suggest a model in which the MCM2-7 helicase is loaded onto chromatin by a Cdt1-geminin complex, which is inactivated upon origin firing by binding additional geminin. This origin inactivation reaction does not occur if only free Cdt1 is present on chromatin.

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