Eukaryotic DNA Replication in a Chromatin Context

ArticleinCurrent Topics in Developmental Biology 76:129-84 · February 2006with4 Reads
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.
    • "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. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] 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.
    Full-text · Article · Nov 2013
    • "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. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] 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.
    Full-text · Article · Jul 2013
    • "These positioned nucleosomes then become important for the assembly of the prereplicative complex of replication initiation proteins [12] prior to origin firing. One particularly attractive feature of this model is that it is consistent with the suspected role of chromatin structure in regulating replication origins in metazoans39404142. Perhaps in the more complex replication origins of higher eukaryotes the roleFigure 7. Nucleosome occupancy at replication origins in chromatin assembled in vitro. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Eukaryotic DNA replication origins differ both in their efficiency and in the characteristic time during S phase when they become active. The biological basis for these differences remains unknown, but they could be a consequence of chromatin structure. The availability of genome-wide maps of nucleosome positions has led to an explosion of information about how nucleosomes are assembled at transcription start sites, but no similar maps exist for DNA replication origins. Here we combine high-resolution genome-wide nucleosome maps with comprehensive annotations of DNA replication origins to identify patterns of nucleosome occupancy at eukaryotic replication origins. On average, replication origins contain a nucleosome depleted region centered next to the ACS element, flanked on both sides by arrays of well-positioned nucleosomes. Our analysis identified DNA sequence properties that correlate with nucleosome occupancy at replication origins genome-wide and that are correlated with the nucleosome-depleted region. Clustering analysis of all annotated replication origins revealed a surprising diversity of nucleosome occupancy patterns. We provide evidence that the origin recognition complex, which binds to the origin, acts as a barrier element to position and phase nucleosomes on both sides of the origin. Finally, analysis of chromatin reconstituted in vitro reveals that origins are inherently nucleosome depleted. Together our data provide a comprehensive, genome-wide view of chromatin structure at replication origins and suggest a model of nucleosome positioning at replication origins in which the underlying sequence occludes nucleosomes to permit binding of the origin recognition complex, which then (likely in concert with nucleosome modifiers and remodelers) positions nucleosomes adjacent to the origin to promote replication origin function.
    Full-text · Article · Sep 2010
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