Some origins in eukaryotic chromosomes fire more frequently than others. In the fission yeast, Schizosaccharomyces pombe, the relative firing frequencies of the three origins clustered 4-8 kbp upstream of the ura4 gene are controlled by a replication enhancer - an element that stimulates nearby origins in a relatively position-and orientation-independent fashion. The important sequence motifs within this enhancer were not previously localized.
Systematic deletion of consecutive segments of ~50, ~100 or ~150 bp within the enhancer and its adjacent core origin (ars3002) revealed that several of the ~50-bp stretches within the enhancer contribute to its function in partially redundant fashion. Other stretches within the enhancer are inhibitory. Some of the stretches within the enhancer proved to be redundant with sequences within core ars3002. Consequently the collection of sequences important for core origin function was found to depend on whether the core origin is assayed in the presence or absence of the enhancer. Some of the important sequences in the core origin and enhancer co-localize with short runs of adenines or thymines, which may serve as binding sites for the fission yeast Origin Recognition Complex (ORC). Others co-localize with matches to consensus sequences commonly found in fission yeast replication origins.
The enhancer within the ura4 origin cluster in fission yeast contains multiple sequence motifs. Many of these stimulate origin function in partially redundant fashion. Some of them resemble motifs also found in core origins. The next step is to identify the proteins that bind to these stimulatory sequences.