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Mol Cell Biol. 1992 September; 12(9): 4056–4066.
PMCID: PMC360298

Replication forks pause at yeast centromeres.


The 120 bp of yeast centromeric DNA is tightly complexed with protein to form a nuclease-resistant core structure 200 to 240 bp in size. We have used two-dimensional agarose gel electrophoresis to analyze the replication of the chromosomal copies of yeast CEN1, CEN3, and CEN4 and determine the fate of replication forks that encounter the protein-DNA complex at the centromere. We have shown that replication fork pause sites are coincident with each of these centromeres and therefore probably with all yeast centromeres. We have analyzed the replication of plasmids containing mutant derivatives of CEN3 to determine whether the replication fork pause site is a result of an unusual structure adopted by centromere DNA or a result of the protein-DNA complex formed at the centromere. The mutant centromere derivatives varied in function as well as the ability to form the nuclease-resistant core structure. The data obtained from analysis of these derivatives indicate that the ability to cause replication forks to pause correlates with the ability to form the nuclease-resistant core structure and not with the presence or absence of a particular DNA sequence. Our findings further suggest that the centromere protein-DNA complex is present during S phase when replication forks encounter the centromere and therefore may be present throughout the cell cycle.

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