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Nucleic Acids Res. 2019 Mar 14. pii: gkz170. doi: 10.1093/nar/gkz170. [Epub ahead of print]

Direct removal of RNA polymerase barriers to replication by accessory replicative helicases.

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Department of Biology, University of York, Wentworth Way, York YO10 5DD, UK.
Division of Biosciences, College of Health and Life Sciences, Brunel University London, Uxbridge UB8 3PH, UK.
DNA-Protein Interactions Unit, School of Biochemistry, University of Bristol, Bristol BS8 1TD, UK.


Bacterial genome duplication and transcription require simultaneous access to the same DNA template. Conflicts between the replisome and transcription machinery can lead to interruption of DNA replication and loss of genome stability. Pausing, stalling and backtracking of transcribing RNA polymerases add to this problem and present barriers to replisomes. Accessory helicases promote fork movement through nucleoprotein barriers and exist in viruses, bacteria and eukaryotes. Here, we show that stalled Escherichia coli transcription elongation complexes block reconstituted replisomes. This physiologically relevant block can be alleviated by the accessory helicase Rep or UvrD, resulting in the formation of full-length replication products. Accessory helicase action during replication-transcription collisions therefore promotes continued replication without leaving gaps in the DNA. In contrast, DinG does not promote replisome movement through stalled transcription complexes in vitro. However, our data demonstrate that DinG operates indirectly in vivo to reduce conflicts between replication and transcription. These results suggest that Rep and UvrD helicases operate on DNA at the replication fork whereas DinG helicase acts via a different mechanism.


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