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J Cell Sci Suppl. 1995;19:51-8.

Analysis of the temporal program of replication initiation in yeast chromosomes.

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Department of Genetics, University of Washington, Seattle 98195-7360, USA.


The multiple origins of eukaryotic chromosomes vary in the time of their initiation during S phase. In the chromosomes of Saccharomyces cerevisiae the presence of a functional telomere causes nearby origins to delay initiation until the second half of S phase. The key feature of telomeres that causes the replication delay is the telomeric sequence (C(1-3)A/G(1-3)T) itself and not the proximity of the origin to a DNA end. A second group of late replicating origins has been found at an internal position on chromosome XIV. Four origins, spanning approximately 140 kb, initiate replication in the second half of S phase. At least two of these internal origins maintain their late replication time on circular plasmids. Each of these origins can be separated into two functional elements: those sequences that provide origin function and those that impose late activation. Because the assay for determining replication time is costly and laborious, it has not been possible to analyze in detail these 'late' elements. We report here the development of two new assays for determining replication time. The first exploits the expression of the Escherichia coli dam methylase in yeast and the characteristic period of hemimethylation that transiently follows the passage of a replication fork. The second uses quantitative hybridization to detect two-fold differences in the amount of specific restriction fragments as a function of progress through S phase. The novel aspect of this assay is the creation in vivo of a non-replicating DNA sequence by site-specific pop-out recombination. This non-replicating fragment acts as an internal control for copy number within and between samples. Both of these techniques are rapid and much less costly than the more conventional density transfer experiments that require CsCl gradients to detect replicated DNA. With these techniques it should be possible to identify the sequences responsible for late initiation, to search for other late replicating regions in the genome, and to begin to analyze the effect that altering the temporal program has on chromosome function.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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