Eukaryotic DNA Replication in a Chromatin Context

Molecular and Computational Biology Section University of Southern California Los Angeles, California 90089, USA.
Current Topics in Developmental Biology (Impact Factor: 4.68). 02/2006; 76:129-84. DOI: 10.1016/S0070-2153(06)76005-7
Source: PubMed


There has been remarkable progress in the last 20 years in defining the molecular mechanisms that regulate initiation of DNA synthesis in eukaryotic cells. Replication origins in the DNA nucleate the ordered assembly of protein factors to form a prereplication complex (preRC) that is poised for DNA synthesis. Transition of the preRC to an active initiation complex is regulated by cyclin-dependent kinases and other signaling molecules, which promote further protein assembly and activate the mini chromosome maintenance helicase. We will review these mechanisms and describe the state of knowledge about the proteins involved. However, we will also consider an additional layer of complexity. The DNA in the cell is packaged with histone proteins into chromatin. Chromatin structure provides an additional layer of heritable information with associated epigenetic modifications. Thus, we will begin by describing chromatin structure, and how the cell generally controls access to the DNA. Access to the DNA requires active chromatin remodeling, specific histone modifications, and regulated histone deposition. Studies in transcription have revealed a variety of mechanisms that regulate DNA access, and some of these are likely to be shared with DNA replication. We will briefly describe heterochromatin as a model for an epigenetically inherited chromatin state. Next, we will describe the mechanisms of replication initiation and how these are affected by constraints of chromatin. Finally, chromatin must be reassembled with appropriate modifications following passage of the replication fork, and our third major topic will be the reassembly of chromatin and its associated epigenetic marks. Thus, in this chapter, we seek to bring together the studies of replication initiation and the studies of chromatin into a single holistic narrative.

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    • "Hence, they do not necessarily alter the frequency of switching. Mutations in other regulators produce higher levels of the expression of otherwise silenced reporters [89,90], but it is hard to tell if modest loss of repression or frequent epigenetic conversions have yielded these results. "
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    ABSTRACT: The remarkable ability of many parasites to evade host immunity is the key to their success and pervasiveness. The immune evasion is directly linked to the silencing of the members of extended families of genes that encode for major parasite antigens. At any time only one of these genes is active. Infrequent switches to other members of the gene family help the parasites elude the immune system and cause prolonged maladies. For most pathogens, the detailed mechanisms of gene silencing and switching are poorly understood. On the other hand, studies in the budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae have revealed similar mechanisms of gene repression and switching and have provided significant insights into the molecular basis of these phenomena. This information is becoming increasingly relevant to the genetics of the parasites. Here we summarize recent advances in parasite epigenetics and emphasize the similarities between S. cerevisiae and pathogens such as Plasmodium, Trypanosoma, Candida, and Pneumocystis. We also outline current challenges in the control and the treatment of the diseases caused by these parasites and link them to epigenetics and the wealth of knowledge acquired from budding yeast.
    Epigenetics & Chromatin 11/2013; 6(1):40. DOI:10.1186/1756-8935-6-40 · 5.33 Impact Factor
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    • "Such phenomena should not be linked to the switching mechanism. On the other hand, many studies have shown increased levels of expression of otherwise silenced reporters [reviewed in (3,12)]. These observations have often been attributed to ‘poor maintenance’ of gene silencing, meaning an elevated rate of S→A switches, or to incomplete repression of the gene in the PEV locus. "
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    ABSTRACT: Position-effect variegation (PEV) phenotypes are characterized by the robust multigenerational repression of a gene located at a certain locus (often called gene silencing) and occasional conversions to fully active state. Consequently, the active state then persists with occasional conversions to the repressed state. These effects are mediated by the establishment and maintenance of heterochromatin or euchromatin structures, respectively. In this study, we have addressed an important but often neglected aspect of PEV: the frequency of conversions at such loci. We have developed a model and have projected various PEV scenarios based on various rates of conversions. We have also enhanced two existing assays for gene silencing in Saccharomyces cerevisiae to measure the rate of switches from repressed to active state and vice versa. We tested the validity of our methodology in Δsir1 cells and in several mutants with defects in gene silencing. The assays have revealed that the histone chaperone Chromatin Assembly Factor I is involved in the control of epigenetic conversions. Together, our model and assays provide a comprehensive methodology for further investigation of epigenetic stability and position effects.
    Nucleic Acids Research 07/2013; 41(18). DOI:10.1093/nar/gkt623 · 9.11 Impact Factor
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    • "We find coevolution with members of the minichromosome maintenance complex (MCMC), proteins involved in replication as a part of the pre-replication complex. MCMC proteins have also been implicated in diverse chromosome transactions including genome stability, transcription, and chromatin modification (Tabancay and Forsburg 2006). We find some of these MCMC proteins to be coevolving with TCP1 and other members of the CCT complex. "
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    ABSTRACT: Coevolution maintains interactions between phenotypic traits through the process of reciprocal natural selection. Detecting molecular coevolution can expose functional interactions between molecules in the cell, generating insights into biological processes, pathways, and the networks of interactions important for cellular function. Prediction of interaction partners from different protein families exploits the property that interacting proteins can follow similar patterns and relative rates of evolution. Current methods for detecting coevolution based on the similarity of phylogenetic trees or evolutionary distance matrices have, however, been limited by requiring coevolution over the entire evolutionary history considered and are inaccurate in the presence of paralogous copies. We present a novel method for determining coevolving protein partners by finding the largest common submatrix in a given pair of distance matrices, with the size of the largest common submatrix measuring the strength of coevolution. This approach permits us to consider matrices of different size and scale, to find lineage-specific coevolution, and to predict multiple interaction partners. We used MatrixMatchMaker to predict protein-protein interactions in the human genome. We show that proteins that are known to interact physically are more strongly coevolving than proteins that simply belong to the same biochemical pathway. The human coevolution network is highly connected, suggesting many more protein-protein interactions than are currently known from high-throughput and other experimental evidence. These most strongly coevolving proteins suggest interactions that have been maintained over long periods of evolutionary time, and that are thus likely to be of fundamental importance to cellular function.
    Genome Research 09/2009; 19(10):1861-71. DOI:10.1101/gr.092452.109 · 14.63 Impact Factor
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