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Cell Cycle. 2009 Jan 1;8(1):125-36. Epub 2009 Jan 1.

Replication licensing promotes cyclin D1 expression and G1 progression in untransformed human cells.

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  • 1Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Boston University School of Medicine, 670 Albany Street, Boston, MA 02118, USA.


Defects in DNA replication are implicated as early and causal events in malignancy. However, the immediate effects of impaired DNA replication licensing on cell cycle progression of non-malignant human cells are unknown. Therefore, we have investigated the acute effects of Mcm7 ablation using synchronized cultures of untransformed Human Dermal Fibroblasts (HDF). Mcm7 ablation elicited a G(1) delay associated with impaired activation of CDK4 and CDK2 and reduced Rb phosphorylation. The cell cycle delay of Mcm7-ablated cells was not associated with a DNA damage response. However, levels of cyclin D1 mRNA were specifically reduced and binding of RNA Polymerase II to the CYCD1 promoter was decreased in Mcm7-depleted cells. Similar to Mcm7-deficiency, Mcm2- or Cdc6-depletion led to impaired cyclin D expression. Ectopic overexpression of Cdc6 in quiescent cells promoted cyclin D1 expression, CDK4 activation and G(1) progression. Therefore timely and efficient expression of cyclin D1 during G(1) phase requires replication licensing. Reconstitution of cyclin D1 expression was insufficient to correct the G(1) delay of Mcm7-depleted cells, indicating that additional cell cycle events during G(1) are dependent on replication licensing. However, ectopic expression of the HPV-E7 oncoprotein, and the resulting bypass of the requirement for cyclin D1-Rb signaling enabled Mcm7-depleted cells to enter S-phase. HPV-E7-induced S-phase entry of Mcm7-depleted cells led to a DNA damage response, a hallmark of pre-malignancy. Taken together, our results suggest the existence of a 'replication licensing restriction point' that couples pre-RC assembly with G(1) progression in normal cells to minimize replication stress, DNA damage and tumorigenesis.

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