The Wu Lab
Genome duplication is a critical part of the cell cycle that is highly regulated to ensure proper cell growth and proliferation. The distribution of the sites of initiation of DNA replication, or origins, across the genome changes during development and differentiation, suggesting that the program of genome duplication is highly controlled. Alterations in the replication pattern have also been observed in a number of pathologies, such as in cancers. However, the fundamental features driving origin selection and the importance of using specific replication programs remain surprisingly unknown. The research in our laboratory aims to study different aspects of genome duplication and maintenance using the fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe as a model system.
|The organization of genome duplication is a critical determinant of the landscape of genome maintenance
Gomez-Escoda B and Wu PY
Genome Research 28:1179-1192 (August 2018)
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Genome duplication is essential for cell proliferation, and the mechanisms regulating its execution are highly conserved. These processes give rise to a spatiotemporal organization of replication initiation across the genome, referred to as the replication program. Despite the identification of such programs in diverse eukaryotic organisms, their biological importance for cellular physiology remains largely unexplored. We address this fundamental question in the context of genome maintenance, taking advantage of the inappropriate origin firing that occurs when fission yeast cells lacking the Rad3/ATR checkpoint kinase are subjected to replication stress. Using this model, we demonstrate that the replication program quantitatively dictates the extent of origin de-regulation and the clustered localization of these events. Furthermore, our results uncover an accumulation of abnormal levels of single-stranded DNA (ssDNA) and the Rad52 repair protein at de-regulated origins. We show that these loci constitute a defining source of the overall ssDNA and Rad52 hotspots in the genome, generating a signature pattern of instability along the chromosomes. We then induce a genome-wide reprogramming of origin usage and evaluate its consequences in our experimental system. This leads to a complete redistribution of the sites of both inappropriate initiation and associated Rad52 recruitment. We therefore conclude that the organization of genome duplication governs the checkpoint control of origin-associated hotspots of instability and plays an integral role in shaping the landscape of genome maintenance.
|CDK activity provides temporal and quantitative cues for organizing genome duplication
Perrot A, Millington CL, Gomez-Escoda B, Schausi-Tiffoche D, and Wu PY
PLOS Genetics 14(2):e1007214 (February 2018)
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In eukaryotes, the spatial and temporal organization of genome duplication gives rise to distinctive profiles of replication origin usage along the chromosomes. While it has become increasingly clear that these programs are important for cellular physiology, the mechanisms by which they are determined and modulated remain elusive. Replication initiation requires the function of cyclin-dependent kinases (CDKs), which associate with various cyclin partners to drive cell proliferation. Surprisingly, although we possess detailed knowledge of the CDK regulators and targets that are crucial for origin activation, little is known about whether CDKs play a critical role in establishing the genome-wide pattern of origin selection. We have addressed this question in the fission yeast, taking advantage of a simplified cell cycle network in which cell proliferation is driven by a single cyclin-CDK module. This system allows us to precisely control CDK activity in vivo using chemical genetics. First, in contrast to previous reports, our results clearly show that distinct cyclin-CDK pairs are not essential for regulating specific subsets of origins and for establishing a normal replication program. Importantly, we then demonstrate that the timing at which CDK activity reaches the S phase threshold is critical for the organization of replication in distinct efficiency domains, while the level of CDK activity at the onset of S phase is a dose-dependent modulator of overall origin efficiencies. Our study therefore implicates these different aspects of CDK regulation as versatile mechanisms for shaping the architecture of DNA replication across the genome.
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