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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2008 Sep 2;105(35):12973-8. doi: 10.1073/pnas.0805307105. Epub 2008 Aug 27.

Mcm4 C-terminal domain of MCM helicase prevents excessive formation of single-stranded DNA at stalled replication forks.

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Department of Biological Sciences, Graduate School of Science, Osaka University, 1-1 Machikaneyama, Toyonaka, Osaka 560-0043, Japan.


The minichromosome maintenance (MCM) helicase, composed of subunits Mcm2-7, is essential for the initiation and elongation phases of DNA replication. Even when DNA synthesis is blocked, MCM continues DNA unwinding to some extent for activation of the replication checkpoint and then stops. However, the mechanism of regulation of MCM-helicase activity remains unknown. Here, we show that truncation of the Mcm4 C-terminal domain (CTD) in fission yeast results in hypersensitivity to replication block caused by dNTP depletion. The truncation mcm4-c84 does not affect the activation of the replication checkpoint pathway but delays its attenuation during recovery from replication block. Two dimensional gel electrophoresis showed that mcm4-c84 delays the disappearance of replication intermediates, indicating that the Mcm4 CTD is required for efficient recovery of stalled replication forks. Remarkably, chromatin immunoprecipitation revealed that mcm4-c84 brings about an increase rather than a decrease in the association of the single-stranded DNA-binding protein RPA to stalled forks, and MCM and the accessory complex GINS are unaffected. These results suggest that the Mcm4 CTD is required to suspend MCM-helicase activity after the formation of single-stranded DNA sufficient for checkpoint activation.

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