Mutations in DNA replication initiator genes in both prokaryotes and eukaryotes lead to a pleiotropic array of phenotypes, including defects in chromosome segregation, cytokinesis, cell cycle regulation and gene expression. For years, it was not clear whether these diverse effects were indirect consequences of perturbed DNA replication, or whether they indicated that DNA replication initiator proteins had roles beyond their activity in initiating DNA synthesis. Recent work from a range of organisms has demonstrated that DNA replication initiator proteins play direct roles in many cellular processes, often functioning to coordinate the initiation of DNA replication with essential cell-cycle activities. The aim of this review is to highlight these new findings, focusing on the pathways and mechanisms utilized by DNA replication initiator proteins to carry out a diverse array of cellular functions.
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