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Curr Biol. 2007 Oct 9;17(19):1657-62. Epub 2007 Sep 6.

ELYS/MEL-28 chromatin association coordinates nuclear pore complex assembly and replication licensing.

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Division of Gene Regulation and Expression, College of Life Sciences, Wellcome Trust Biocentre, University of Dundee, Dundee DD1 5EH, Scotland, United Kingdom.


Xenopus egg extract supports all the major cell-cycle transitions in vitro. We have used a proteomics approach to identify proteins whose abundance on chromatin changes during the course of an in vitro cell cycle. One of the proteins we identified was ELYS/MEL-28, which has recently been described as the earliest-acting factor known to be required for nuclear pore complex (NPC) assembly [1-4]. ELYS interacts with the Nup107-160 complex and is required for its association with chromatin. ELYS contains an AT-hook domain, which we show binds to chromatin with a high affinity. This domain can compete with full-length ELYS for chromatin association, thereby blocking NPC assembly. This provides evidence that ELYS interacts directly with chromatin and that this interaction is essential for NPC assembly and compartmentalization of chromosomal DNA within the cell. Furthermore, we detected a physical association on chromatin between ELYS and the Mcm2-7 replication-licensing proteins. ELYS chromatin loading, NPC assembly, and nuclear growth were delayed when Mcm2-7 was prevented from loading onto chromatin. Because nuclear assembly is required to shut down licensing prior to entry into S phase, our results suggest a mechanism by which these two early cell-cycle events are coordinated with one another.

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