Type II topoisomerases are ubiquitous enzymes in all branches of life that can alter DNA superhelicity and unlink double-stranded DNA segments during processes such as replication and transcription. In cells, type II topoisomerases are particularly useful for their ability to disentangle newly-replicated sister chromosomes. Growing lines of evidence indicate that eukaryotic topoisomerase II (topo II) activity is monitored and regulated throughout the cell cycle. Here, we discuss the various roles of topo II throughout the cell cycle, as well as mechanisms that have been found to govern and/or respond to topo II function and dysfunction. Knowledge of how topo II activity is controlled during cell cycle progression is important for understanding how its misregulation can contribute to genetic instability and how modulatory pathways may be exploited to advance chemotherapeutic development.
Keywords: DNA replication; cancer; cell cycle; cell cycle checkpoint; decatenation; mitosis; topoisomerase II.