Background: The retinoblastoma (Rb) tumor suppressor protein can function as a DNA replication inhibitor as well as a transcription factor. Regulation of DNA replication may occur through interaction of Rb with the origin recognition complex (ORC).
Principal findings: We characterized the interaction of Drosophila Rb, Rbf1, with ORC. Using expression of proteins in Drosophila S2 cells, we found that an N-terminal Rbf1 fragment (amino acids 1-345) is sufficient for Rbf1 association with ORC but does not bind to dE2F1. We also found that the C-terminal half of Rbf1 (amino acids 345-845) interacts with ORC. We observed that the amino-terminal domain of Rbf1 localizes to chromatin in vivo and associates with chromosomal regions implicated in replication initiation, including colocalization with Orc2 and acetylated histone H4.
Conclusions/significance: Our results suggest that Rbf1 can associate with ORC and chromatin through domains independent of the E2F binding site. We infer that Rbf1 may play a role in regulating replication directly through its association with ORC and/or chromatin factors other than E2F. Our data suggest an important role for retinoblastoma family proteins in cell proliferation and tumor suppression through interaction with the replication initiation machinery.