Regulation of early events in chromosome replication

Curr Biol. 2004 Sep 21;14(18):R778-86. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2004.09.019.


Eukaryotic genomes are replicated from large numbers of replication origins distributed on multiple chromosomes. The activity of these origins must be coordinated so that the entire genome is efficiently and accurately replicated yet no region of the genome is ever replicated more than once. The past decade has seen significant advances in understanding how the initiation of DNA replication is regulated by key cell-cycle regulators, including the cyclin dependent kinases (CDKs) and the anaphase promoting complex/cyclosome (APC/C). The assembly of essential prereplicative complexes (pre-RCs) at origins only occurs when CDK activity is low and APC/C activity is high. Origin firing, however, can only occur when the APC/C is inactivated and CDKs become active. This two step mechanism ensures that no origin can fire more than once in a cell cycle. In all eukaryotes tested, CDKs can contribute to the inhibition of pre-RC assembly. This inhibition is characterised both by high degrees of redundancy and evolutionary plasticity. Geminin plays a crucial role in inhibiting licensing in metazoans and, like cyclins, is inactivated by the APC/C. Strategies involved in preventing re-replication in different organisms will be discussed.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anaphase-Promoting Complex-Cyclosome
  • Animals
  • Cell Cycle / physiology*
  • Cell Cycle Proteins
  • Cyclin-Dependent Kinases / physiology
  • DNA Replication Timing / physiology*
  • Drosophila
  • Eukaryotic Cells / physiology*
  • Geminin
  • Mammals
  • Models, Biological*
  • Replication Origin / physiology*
  • Ubiquitin-Protein Ligase Complexes / physiology
  • Xenopus
  • Xenopus Proteins
  • Yeasts


  • Cell Cycle Proteins
  • GMNN protein, Xenopus
  • Geminin
  • Xenopus Proteins
  • Ubiquitin-Protein Ligase Complexes
  • Anaphase-Promoting Complex-Cyclosome
  • Cyclin-Dependent Kinases