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EMBO J. 1994 Sep 1;13(17):4153-64.

Study of the cell cycle-dependent assembly of the DNA pre-replication centres in Xenopus egg extracts.

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Department of Biochemistry, University of Geneva, Switzerland.


RPA is a cellular, three-subunit, single-stranded (ss) DNA binding protein, which assists T-antigen in the assembly of the pre-priming complex in the SV40 replication system. By immunodepletion and complementation, we have identified RPA as an essential factor for cellular DNA replication in Xenopus extracts. RPA assembles post-mitotically on the decondensing chromosomes into numerous subnuclear pre-replication centres (preRCs) which serve, upon formation of the nuclear membrane, as RCs for the initiation of DNA synthesis. By a variety of experiments including the use of isolated components, we demonstrate that an inactive cdc2-cyclin B kinase complex is essential to allow post-mitotic assembly of the preRCs. In contrast, the active cdk2-cyclin A kinase does not impede or facilitate the assembly of preRCs. Digestion analysis using the single-strand-specific P1 nuclease as well as competition experiments with ssDNA, reveal that replication-associated unwinding of the DNA, assisted by RPA, requires the formation of the nuclear membrane. The p21 cdk-interacting protein Cip1 appears to inhibit DNA replication prior to the unwinding DNA step, but after assembly of preRC and nuclear reconstruction.

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