Although Cdc7 protein kinase is important for regulating DNA replication in all eukaryotes and is a target for cancer therapy, it has never been localized in cells. Recently, a novel molecular genomic method used by our laboratory to localize Cdc7 to regions of chromosomes. Originally, mutations in the CDC7 gene were found in the classic cdc mutant collection of Hartwell et al. (Genetics 74:267-286, 1973). The CDC7 gene was found to encode a protein kinase called DDK that has been studied for many years, establishing its precise role in the initiation of DNA replication at origins. Recently, clinical studies are underway with DDK inhibitors against DDK in cancer patients. However, the conundrum is that Cdc7 has never been detected at origins of replication even though many studies have suggested it should be there. We used "Calling Card" system in which DNA binding proteins are localized to the genome via retrotransposon insertion and deep-sequencing methods. We have shown that Cdc7 localizes at many regions of the genome and was enriched at functional origins of replication. These results are consistent with DDK's role in many additional genomic processes including mutagenesis, chromatid cohesion, and meiotic recombination. Thus, the main conclusion from our studies is that Cdc7 kinase is found at many locations in the genome, but is enriched at functional origins of replication. Furthermore, we propose that application of the Calling Card system to other eukaryotes should be useful in identification of functional origins in other eukaryotic cells.
Keywords: Calling cards; Cdc7; Chromatin; DDK; DNA replication; Origins; Yeast.