Background: During S. pombe S-phase, initiation of DNA replication occurs at multiple sites (origins) that are enriched with AT-rich sequences, at various times. Current studies of genome-wide DNA replication profiles have focused on the DNA replication timing and origin location. However, the replication and/or firing efficiency of the individual origins on the genomic scale remain unclear.
Methodology/principal findings: Using the genome-wide ORF-specific DNA microarray analysis, we show that in S. pombe, individual origins fire with varying efficiencies and at different times during S-phase. The increase in DNA copy number plotted as a function of time is approximated to the near-sigmoidal model, when considering the replication start and end timings at individual loci in cells released from HU-arrest. Replication efficiencies differ from origin to origin, depending on the origin's firing efficiency. We have found that DNA replication is inefficient early in S-phase, due to inefficient firing at origins. Efficient replication occurs later, attributed to efficient but late-firing origins. Furthermore, profiles of replication timing in cds1Delta cells are abnormal, due to the failure in resuming replication at the collapsed forks. The majority of the inefficient origins, but not the efficient ones, are found to fire in cds1Delta cells after HU removal, owing to the firing at the remaining unused (inefficient) origins during HU treatment.
Conclusions/significance: Taken together, our results indicate that efficient DNA replication/firing occurs late in S-phase progression in cells after HU removal, due to efficient late-firing origins. Additionally, checkpoint kinase Cds1p is required for maintaining the efficient replication/firing late in S-phase. We further propose that efficient late-firing origins are essential for ensuring completion of DNA duplication by the end of S-phase.