Mechanisms of replication fork protection: a safeguard for genome stability

Crit Rev Biochem Mol Biol. May-Jun 2012;47(3):222-35. doi: 10.3109/10409238.2012.655374. Epub 2012 Feb 11.


During S-phase, the genome is extremely vulnerable and the progression of replication forks is often threatened by exogenous and endogenous challenges. When replication fork progression is halted, the intra S-phase checkpoint is activated to promote structural stability of stalled forks, preventing the dissociation of replisome components. This ensures the rapid resumption of replication following DNA repair. Failure in protecting and/or restarting the stalled forks contributes to alterations of the genome. Several human genetic diseases coupled to an increased cancer predisposition are caused by mutations in genes involved in safeguarding genome integrity during DNA replication. Both the ATR (ataxia telangiectasia and Rad3-related protein) kinase and the Replication pausing complex (RPC) components Tipin, Tim1 and Claspin play key roles in activating the intra S-phase checkpoint and in stabilizing the stalled replication forks. Here, we discuss the specific contribution of these factors in preserving fork structure and ensuring accurate completion of DNA replication.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adaptor Proteins, Signal Transducing / genetics
  • Adaptor Proteins, Signal Transducing / metabolism
  • Ataxia Telangiectasia Mutated Proteins
  • Cell Cycle Proteins / genetics
  • Cell Cycle Proteins / metabolism
  • Chromatids / genetics
  • DNA Damage
  • DNA Repair
  • DNA Replication
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / genetics
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / metabolism
  • Genetic Diseases, Inborn / genetics
  • Genome, Human
  • Genomic Instability*
  • Hepatitis A Virus Cellular Receptor 1
  • Humans
  • MRE11 Homologue Protein
  • Membrane Glycoproteins / genetics
  • Membrane Glycoproteins / metabolism
  • Phosphorylation
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases / genetics
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases / metabolism
  • Receptors, Virus / genetics
  • Receptors, Virus / metabolism
  • Replication Origin*
  • S Phase Cell Cycle Checkpoints*
  • Signal Transduction


  • Adaptor Proteins, Signal Transducing
  • CLSPN protein, human
  • Cell Cycle Proteins
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • HAVCR1 protein, human
  • Hepatitis A Virus Cellular Receptor 1
  • MRE11 protein, human
  • Membrane Glycoproteins
  • Receptors, Virus
  • ATR protein, human
  • Ataxia Telangiectasia Mutated Proteins
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases
  • MRE11 Homologue Protein