The EMBO journal

Origin plasticity during budding yeast DNA replication in vitro.

PMID 24566988


The separation of DNA replication origin licensing and activation in the cell cycle is essential for genome stability across generations in eukaryotic cells. Pre-replicative complexes (pre-RCs) license origins by loading Mcm2-7 complexes in inactive form around DNA. During origin firing in S phase, replisomes assemble around the activated Mcm2-7 DNA helicase. Budding yeast pre-RCs have previously been reconstituted in vitro with purified proteins. Here, we show that reconstituted pre-RCs support replication of plasmid DNA in yeast cell extracts in a reaction that exhibits hallmarks of cellular replication initiation. Plasmid replication in vitro results in the generation of covalently closed circular daughter molecules, indicating that the system recapitulates the initiation, elongation, and termination stages of DNA replication. Unexpectedly, yeast origin DNA is not strictly required for DNA replication in vitro, as heterologous DNA sequences could support replication of plasmid molecules. Our findings support the notion that epigenetic mechanisms are important for determining replication origin sites in budding yeast, highlighting mechanistic principles of replication origin specification that are common among eukaryotes.