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Transcription Initiation Activity Sets Replication Origin Efficiency in Mammalian Cells

AuthorsSequeira-Mendes, Joana CSIC ORCID; Díaz-Uriarte, Ramón CSIC ORCID; Apedaile, Anwyn; Huntley, Derek; Brockdorff, Neil; Gómez, María CSIC ORCID
Mammalian Cells
Issue Date10-Apr-2009
PublisherPublic Library of Science
CitationPLoS Genet. 2009 April; 5(4): e1000446
AbstractGenomic mapping of DNA replication origins (ORIs) in mammals provides a powerful means for understanding the regulatory complexity of our genome. Here we combine a genome-wide approach to identify preferential sites of DNA replication initiation at 0.4% of the mouse genome with detailed molecular analysis at distinct classes of ORIs according to their location relative to the genes. Our study reveals that 85% of the replication initiation sites in mouse embryonic stem (ES) cells are associated with transcriptional units. Nearly half of the identified ORIs map at promoter regions and, interestingly, ORI density strongly correlates with promoter density, reflecting the coordinated organisation of replication and transcription in the mouse genome. Detailed analysis of ORI activity showed that CpG island promoter-ORIs are the most efficient ORIs in ES cells and both ORI specification and firing efficiency are maintained across cell types. Remarkably, the distribution of replication initiation sites at promoter-ORIs exactly parallels that of transcription start sites (TSS), suggesting a co-evolution of the regulatory regions driving replication and transcription. Moreover, we found that promoter-ORIs are significantly enriched in CAGE tags derived from early embryos relative to all promoters. This association implies that transcription initiation early in development sets the probability of ORI activation, unveiling a new hallmark in ORI efficiency regulation in mammalian cells.
[Author Summary] The duplication of the genetic information of a cell starts from specific sites on the chromosomes called DNA replication origins. Their number varies from a few hundred in yeast cells to several thousands in human cells, distributed along the genome at comparable distances in both systems. An important question in the field is to understand how origins of replication are specified and regulated in the mammalian genome, as neither their location nor their activity can be directly inferred from the DNA sequence. Previous studies at individual origins and, more recently, at large scale across 1% of the human genome, have revealed that most origins overlap with transcriptional regulatory elements, and specifically with gene promoters. To gain insight into the nature of the relationship between active transcription and origin specification we have combined a genomic mapping of origins at 0.4% of the mouse genome with detailed studies of activation efficiency. The data identify two types of origins with distinct regulatory properties: highly efficient origins map at CpG island-promoters and low efficient origins locate elsewhere in association with transcriptional units. We also find a remarkable parallel organisation of the replication initiation sites and transcription start sites at efficient promoter-origins that suggests a prominent role of transcription initiation in setting the efficiency of replication origin activation.
Description13 pages, 7 figures and Figure S1 found at: doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1000446.s001 (2.91 MB TIF), Table S1 found at: doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1000446.s002 (0.08 MB DOC), Table S2 found at: doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1000446.s003 (0.12 MB XLS), Table S3 found at: doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1000446.s004 (0.32 MB DOC)
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