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Cell. 1981 Sep;25(3):659-69.

Arrest of segregation leads to accumulation of highly intertwined catenated dimers: dissection of the final stages of SV40 DNA replication.


When SV40-infected cells are placed into hypertonic medium, newly synthesized DNA accumulates as form C catenated dimers. These molecules consist of two supercoiled monomer circles of SV40 DNA interlocked by one or more topological inter-twinings and are seen as transiently labeled inter-mediates during normal replication. Form C catenated dimers represent pure segregation intermediates, replicative DNA structures in which DNA synthesis is complete but which still require topological separation of the two daughter circles. Hypertonic shock seems to block selectively a type II topoisomerase activity involved in disentangling the two circles. This is reflected in the fact that form C catenated dimers that accumulate during the block are highly intertwined with catenation linkage numbers up to C(L) = 20. While initiation of replication is also inhibited by hypertonic treatment, ongoing SV40 DNA synthesis is not affected, and replication is free to proceed from the earliest cairns structure through to form C catenated dimers. The block to segregation is rapidly and completely released by shifting the cells back to normal medium. A much slower recovery of DNA segregation takes place on prolonged incubation in hypertonic medium, perhaps because of some cellular homeostatic mechanism. The results of this work lead to a detailed view of the final stages of SV40 DNA replication.

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