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Review
, 57 (5), 482-7

Mechanism of Chromosomal DNA Replication Initiation and Replication Fork Stabilization in Eukaryotes

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Review

Mechanism of Chromosomal DNA Replication Initiation and Replication Fork Stabilization in Eukaryotes

LiHong Wu et al. Sci China Life Sci.

Abstract

Chromosomal DNA replication is one of the central biological events occurring inside cells. Due to its large size, the replication of genomic DNA in eukaryotes initiates at hundreds to tens of thousands of sites called DNA origins so that the replication could be completed in a limited time. Further, eukaryotic DNA replication is sophisticatedly regulated, and this regulation guarantees that each origin fires once per S phase and each segment of DNA gets duplication also once per cell cycle. The first step of replication initiation is the assembly of pre-replication complex (pre-RC). Since 1973, four proteins, Cdc6/Cdc18, MCM, ORC and Cdt1, have been extensively studied and proved to be pre-RC components. Recently, a novel pre-RC component called Sap1/Girdin was identified. Sap1/Girdin is required for loading Cdc18/Cdc6 to origins for pre-RC assembly in the fission yeast and human cells, respectively. At the transition of G1 to S phase, pre-RC is activated by the two kinases, cyclindependent kinase (CDK) and Dbf4-dependent kinase (DDK), and subsequently, RPA, primase-polα, PCNA, topoisomerase, Cdc45, polδ, and polɛ are recruited to DNA origins for creating two bi-directional replication forks and initiating DNA replication. As replication forks move along chromatin DNA, they frequently stall due to the presence of a great number of replication barriers on chromatin DNA, such as secondary DNA structures, protein/DNA complexes, DNA lesions, gene transcription. Stalled forks must require checkpoint regulation for their stabilization. Otherwise, stalled forks will collapse, which results in incomplete DNA replication and genomic instability. This short review gives a concise introduction regarding the current understanding of replication initiation and replication fork stabilization.

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