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Mol Cell. 2010 Dec 10;40(5):703-13. doi: 10.1016/j.molcel.2010.11.009.

Epigenetic instability due to defective replication of structured DNA.

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Medical Research Council Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Hills Road, Cambridge CB2 0QH, UK.


The accurate propagation of histone marks during chromosomal replication is proposed to rely on the tight coupling of replication with the recycling of parental histones to the daughter strands. Here, we show in the avian cell line DT40 that REV1, a key regulator of DNA translesion synthesis at the replication fork, is required for the maintenance of repressive chromatin marks and gene silencing in the vicinity of DNA capable of forming G-quadruplex (G4) structures. We demonstrate a previously unappreciated requirement for REV1 in replication of G4 forming sequences and show that transplanting a G4 forming sequence into a silent locus leads to its derepression in REV1-deficient cells. Together, our observations support a model in which failure to maintain processive DNA replication at G4 DNA in REV1-deficient cells leads to uncoupling of DNA synthesis from histone recycling, resulting in localized loss of repressive chromatin through biased incorporation of newly synthesized histones.

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