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1.  Identification of two telomere-proximal fission yeast DNA replication origins constrained by nearby cis-acting sequences to replicate in late S phase 
F1000Research  2012;1:58.
Telomeres of the fission yeast,  Schizosaccharomyces pombe, are known to replicate in late S phase, but the reasons for this late replication are not fully understood. We have identified two closely-spaced DNA replication origins, 5.5 to 8 kb upstream from the telomere itself. These are the most telomere-proximal of all the replication origins in the fission yeast genome. When located by themselves in circular plasmids, these origins fired in early S phase, but if flanking sequences closer to the telomere were included in the circular plasmid, then replication was restrained to late S phase – except in cells lacking the replication-checkpoint kinase, Cds1. We conclude that checkpoint-dependent late replication of telomere-associated sequences is dependent on nearby cis-acting sequences, not on proximity to the physical end of a linear chromosome.
PMCID: PMC3790605  PMID: 24358832
2.  Chromatin architectures at fission yeast transcriptional promoters and replication origins 
Nucleic Acids Research  2012;40(15):7176-7189.
We have used micrococcal nuclease (MNase) digestion followed by deep sequencing in order to obtain a higher resolution map than previously available of nucleosome positions in the fission yeast, Schizosaccharomyces pombe. Our data confirm an unusually short average nucleosome repeat length, ∼152 bp, in fission yeast and that transcriptional start sites (TSSs) are associated with nucleosome-depleted regions (NDRs), ordered nucleosome arrays downstream and less regularly spaced upstream nucleosomes. In addition, we found enrichments for associated function in four of eight groups of genes clustered according to chromatin configurations near TSSs. At replication origins, our data revealed asymmetric localization of pre-replication complex (pre-RC) proteins within large NDRs—a feature that is conserved in fission and budding yeast and is therefore likely to be conserved in other eukaryotic organisms.
PMCID: PMC3424540  PMID: 22573177
3.  Integrity of chromatin and replicating DNA in nuclei released from fission yeast by semi-automated grinding in liquid nitrogen 
BMC Research Notes  2011;4:499.
Studies of nuclear function in many organisms, especially those with tough cell walls, are limited by lack of availability of simple, economical methods for large-scale preparation of clean, undamaged nuclei.
Here we present a useful method for nuclear isolation from the important model organism, the fission yeast, Schizosaccharomyces pombe. To preserve in vivo molecular configurations, we flash-froze the yeast cells in liquid nitrogen. Then we broke their tough cell walls, without damaging their nuclei, by grinding in a precision-controlled motorized mortar-and-pestle apparatus. The cryo-ground cells were resuspended and thawed in a buffer designed to preserve nuclear morphology, and the nuclei were enriched by differential centrifugation. The washed nuclei were free from contaminating nucleases and have proven well-suited as starting material for genome-wide chromatin analysis and for preparation of fragile DNA replication intermediates.
We have developed a simple, reproducible, economical procedure for large-scale preparation of endogenous-nuclease-free, morphologically intact nuclei from fission yeast. With appropriate modifications, this procedure may well prove useful for isolation of nuclei from other organisms with, or without, tough cell walls.
PMCID: PMC3235078  PMID: 22088094
4.  Checkpoint-Dependent Regulation of Origin Firing and Replication Fork Movement in Response to DNA Damage in Fission Yeast ▿  
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2008;29(2):602-611.
To elucidate the checkpoint mechanism responsible for slowing passage through S phase when fission yeast cells are treated with the DNA-damaging agent methyl methanesulfonate (MMS), we carried out two-dimensional gel analyses of replication intermediates in cells synchronized by cdc10 block (in G1) followed by release into synchronous S phase. The results indicated that under these conditions early-firing centromeric origins were partially delayed but late-firing telomeric origins were not delayed. Replication intermediates persisted in MMS-treated cells, suggesting that replication fork movement was inhibited. These effects were dependent on the Cds1 checkpoint kinase and were abolished in cells overexpressing the Cdc25 phosphatase, suggesting a role for the Cdc2 cyclin-dependent kinase. We conclude that both partial inhibition of the firing of a subset of origins and inhibition of replication fork movement contribute to the slowing of S phase in MMS-treated fission yeast cells.
PMCID: PMC2612511  PMID: 19001087
5.  Production of reactive oxygen species in response to replication stress and inappropriate mitosis in fission yeast 
Journal of cell science  2006;119(Pt 1):124-131.
Previous studies have indicated that replication stress can trigger apoptosis-like cell death, accompanied (where tested) by production of reactive oxygen species (ROS), in mammalian cells and budding yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae). In mammalian cells, inappropriate entry into mitosis also leads to cell death. Here we report similar responses in fission yeast (Schizosaccharomyces pombe). We used ROS- and death-specific fluorescent stains to measure the effects of mutations in replication initiation and checkpoint genes in fission yeast on the frequencies of ROS production and cell death. We found that certain mutant alleles of each of the four tested replication initiation genes caused elevated ROS and cell death. Where tested, these effects were not enhanced by checkpoint gene mutations. Instead, when cells that were competent for replication but defective in both the replication and damage checkpoints were treated with hydroxyurea, which slows replication fork movement, the frequencies of ROS production and cell death were greatly increased. This was a consequence of elevated CDK activity, which permitted inappropriate entry into mitosis. Thus studies in fission yeast are likely to prove helpful in understanding the pathways that lead both from replication stress and from inappropriate mitosis to cell death in mammalian cells.
PMCID: PMC1582148  PMID: 16371652
reactive oxygen species; cell death; checkpoint; replication; mitosis; apoptosis
6.  Checkpoint effects and telomere amplification during DNA re-replication in fission yeast 
BMC Molecular Biology  2007;8:119.
Although much is known about molecular mechanisms that prevent re-initiation of DNA replication on newly replicated DNA during a single cell cycle, knowledge is sparse regarding the regions that are most susceptible to re-replication when those mechanisms are bypassed and regarding the extents to which checkpoint pathways modulate re-replication. We used microarrays to learn more about these issues in wild-type and checkpoint-mutant cells of the fission yeast, Schizosaccharomyces pombe.
We found that over-expressing a non-phosphorylatable form of the replication-initiation protein, Cdc18 (known as Cdc6 in other eukaryotes), drove re-replication of DNA sequences genome-wide, rather than forcing high level amplification of just a few sequences. Moderate variations in extents of re-replication generated regions spanning hundreds of kilobases that were amplified (or not) ~2-fold more (or less) than average. However, these regions showed little correlation with replication origins used during S phase. The extents and locations of amplified regions in cells deleted for the checkpoint genes encoding Rad3 (ortholog of human ATR and budding yeast Mec1) and Cds1 (ortholog of human Chk2 and budding yeast Rad53) were similar to those in wild-type cells. Relatively minor but distinct effects, including increased re-replication of heterochromatic regions, were found specifically in cells lacking Rad3. These might be due to Cds1-independent roles for Rad3 in regulating re-replication and/or due to the fact that cells lacking Rad3 continued to divide during re-replication, unlike wild-type cells or cells lacking Cds1. In both wild-type and checkpoint-mutant cells, regions near telomeres were particularly susceptible to re-replication. Highly re-replicated telomere-proximal regions (50–100 kb) were, in each case, followed by some of the least re-replicated DNA in the genome.
The origins used, and the extent of replication fork progression, during re-replication are largely independent of the replication and DNA-damage checkpoint pathways mediated by Cds1 and Rad3. The fission yeast pattern of telomere-proximal amplification adjacent to a region of under-replication has also been seen in the distantly-related budding yeast, which suggests that subtelomeric sequences may be a promising place to look for DNA re-replication in other organisms.
PMCID: PMC2265721  PMID: 18154680
7.  Checkpoint independence of most DNA replication origins in fission yeast 
BMC Molecular Biology  2007;8:112.
In budding yeast, the replication checkpoint slows progress through S phase by inhibiting replication origin firing. In mammals, the replication checkpoint inhibits both origin firing and replication fork movement. To find out which strategy is employed in the fission yeast, Schizosaccharomyces pombe, we used microarrays to investigate the use of origins by wild-type and checkpoint-mutant strains in the presence of hydroxyurea (HU), which limits the pool of deoxyribonucleoside triphosphates (dNTPs) and activates the replication checkpoint. The checkpoint-mutant cells carried deletions either of rad3 (which encodes the fission yeast homologue of ATR) or cds1 (which encodes the fission yeast homologue of Chk2).
Our microarray results proved to be largely consistent with those independently obtained and recently published by three other laboratories. However, we were able to reconcile differences between the previous studies regarding the extent to which fission yeast replication origins are affected by the replication checkpoint. We found (consistent with the three previous studies after appropriate interpretation) that, in surprising contrast to budding yeast, most fission yeast origins, including both early- and late-firing origins, are not significantly affected by checkpoint mutations during replication in the presence of HU. A few origins (~3%) behaved like those in budding yeast: they replicated earlier in the checkpoint mutants than in wild type. These were located primarily in the heterochromatic subtelomeric regions of chromosomes 1 and 2. Indeed, the subtelomeric regions defined by the strongest checkpoint restraint correspond precisely to previously mapped subtelomeric heterochromatin. This observation implies that subtelomeric heterochromatin in fission yeast differs from heterochromatin at centromeres, in the mating type region, and in ribosomal DNA, since these regions replicated at least as efficiently in wild-type cells as in checkpoint-mutant cells.
The fact that ~97% of fission yeast replication origins – both early and late – are not significantly affected by replication checkpoint mutations in HU-treated cells suggests that (i) most late-firing origins are restrained from firing in HU-treated cells by at least one checkpoint-independent mechanism, and (ii) checkpoint-dependent slowing of S phase in fission yeast when DNA is damaged may be accomplished primarily by the slowing of replication forks.
PMCID: PMC2235891  PMID: 18093330
8.  DNA Replication Stress Is a Determinant of Chronological Lifespan in Budding Yeast 
PLoS ONE  2007;2(8):e748.
The chronological lifespan of eukaryotic organisms is extended by the mutational inactivation of conserved growth-signaling pathways that regulate progression into and through the cell cycle. Here we show that in the budding yeast S. cerevisiae, these and other lifespan-extending conditions, including caloric restriction and osmotic stress, increase the efficiency with which nutrient-depleted cells establish or maintain a cell cycle arrest in G1. Proteins required for efficient G1 arrest and longevity when nutrients are limiting include the DNA replication stress response proteins Mec1 and Rad53. Ectopic expression of CLN3 encoding a G1 cyclin downregulated during nutrient depletion increases the frequency with which nutrient depleted cells arrest growth in S phase instead of G1. Ectopic expression of CLN3 also shortens chronological lifespan in concert with age-dependent increases in genome instability and apoptosis. These findings indicate that replication stress is an important determinant of chronological lifespan in budding yeast. Protection from replication stress by growth-inhibitory effects of caloric restriction, osmotic and other stresses may contribute to hormesis effects on lifespan. Replication stress also likely impacts the longevity of higher eukaryotes, including humans.
PMCID: PMC1939877  PMID: 17710147
9.  Prognostic significance of MCM2, Ki-67 and gelsolin in non-small cell lung cancer 
BMC Cancer  2006;6:203.
Uncontrolled proliferation and increased motility are hallmarks of neoplastic cells, therefore markers of proliferation and motility may be valuable in assessing tumor progression and prognosis. MCM2 is a member of the minichromosome maintenance (MCM) protein family. It plays critical roles in the initiation of DNA replication and in replication fork movement, and is intimately related to cell proliferation. Ki-67 is a proliferation antigen that is expressed during all but G0 phases of the cell cycle. Gelsolin is an actin-binding protein that regulates the integrity of the actin cytoskeletal structure and facilitates cell motility. In this study, we assessed the prognostic significance of MCM2 and Ki-67, two markers of proliferation, and gelsolin, a marker of motility, in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).
128 patients with pathologically confirmed, resectable NSCLC (stage I-IIIA) were included. Immunohistochemistry was utilized to measure the expressions of these markers in formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded tumor tissues. Staining and scoring of MCM2, Ki-67 and gelsolin was independently performed. Analyses were performed to evaluate the prognostic significance of single expression of each marker, as well as the prognostic significance of composite expressions of MCM2 and gelsolin. Cox regression and Kaplan-Meier survival analysis were used for statistical analysis.
Of the three markers, higher levels of gelsolin were significantly associated with an increased risk of death (adjusted RR = 1.89, 95% CI = 1.17–3.05, p = 0.01), and higher levels of MCM2 were associated with a non-significant increased risk of death (adjusted RR = 1.36, 95% CI = 0.84–2.20, p = 0.22). Combined, adjusted analyses revealed a significantly poor prognostic effect for higher expression of MCM2 and gelsolin compared to low expression of both biomarkers (RR = 2.32, 95% CI = 1.21–4.45, p = 0.01). Ki-67 did not display apparent prognostic effect in this study sample.
The results suggest that higher tumor proliferation and motility may be important in the prognosis of NSCLC, and composite application of biomarkers might be of greater value than single marker application in assessing tumor prognosis.
PMCID: PMC1555597  PMID: 16882345
10.  Schizosaccharomyces pombe Swi1, Swi3, and Hsk1 Are Components of a Novel S-Phase Response Pathway to Alkylation Damage†  
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2005;25(7):2770-2784.
The Swi1 and Swi3 proteins are required for mat1 imprinting and mating-type switching in Schizosaccharomyces pombe, where they mediate a pause of leading-strand replication in response to a lagging-strand signal. In addition, Swi1 has been demonstrated to be involved in the checkpoint response to stalled replication forks, as was described for the Saccharomyces cerevisiae homologue Tof1. This study addresses the roles of Swi1 and Swi3 during a replication process perturbed by the presence of template bases alkylated by methyl methanesulfonate (MMS). Both the swi1 and swi3 mutations have additive effects on MMS sensitivity and on the MMS-induced damage checkpoint response when combined with chk1 and cds1, but they are nonadditive with hsk1. Cells with swi1, swi3, or hsk1 mutations are also defective in slowing progression through S phase in response to MMS damage. Moreover, swi1 and swi3 strains show increased levels of genomic instability even in the absence of exogenously induced DNA damage. Chromosome fragmentation, increased levels of single-stranded DNA, increased recombination, and instability of replication forks stalled in the presence of hydroxyurea are observed, consistent with the possibility that the replication process is affected in these mutants. In conclusion, Swi1, Swi3, and Hsk1 act in a novel S-phase checkpoint pathway that contributes to replication fork maintenance and to survival of alkylation damage.
PMCID: PMC1061638  PMID: 15767681
11.  MCM2 - a promising marker for premalignant lesions of the lung: a cohort study 
BMC Cancer  2001;1:6.
Because cells progressing to cancer must proliferate, marker proteins specific to proliferating cells may permit detection of premalignant lesions. Here we compared the sensitivities of a classic proliferation marker, Ki-67, with a new proliferation marker, MCM2, in 41 bronchial biopsy specimens representing normal mucosa, metaplasia, dysplasia, and carcinoma in situ.
Parallel sections were stained with antibodies against MCM2 and Ki-67, and the frequencies of staining were independently measured by two investigators. Differences were evaluated statistically using the two-sided correlated samples t-test and Wilcoxon rank sum test.
For each of the 41 specimens, the average frequency of staining by anti-MCM2 (39%) was significantly (p < 0.001) greater than by anti-Ki-67 (16%). In metaplastic lesions anti-MCM2 frequently detected cells near the epithelial surface, while anti-Ki-67 did not.
We conclude that MCM2 is detectable in 2-3 times more proliferating premalignant lung cells than is Ki-67. The promise of MCM2 as a sensitive marker for premalignant lung cells is enhanced by the fact that it is present in cells at the surface of metaplastic lung lesions, which are more likely to be exfoliated into sputum. Future studies will determine if use of anti-MCM2 makes possible sufficiently early detection to significantly enhance lung cancer survival rates.
PMCID: PMC35283  PMID: 11472637
12.  Multiple redundant sequence elements within the fission yeast ura4 replication origin enhancer 
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.
PMCID: PMC29090  PMID: 11178109
13.  Multiple Orientation-Dependent, Synergistically Interacting, Similar Domains in the Ribosomal DNA Replication Origin of the Fission Yeast, Schizosaccharomyces pombe 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  1998;18(12):7294-7303.
Previous investigations have shown that the fission yeast, Schizosaccharomyces pombe, has DNA replication origins (500 to 1500 bp) that are larger than those in the budding yeast, Saccharomyces cerevisiae (100 to 150 bp). Deletion and linker substitution analyses of two fission yeast origins revealed that they contain multiple important regions with AT-rich asymmetric (abundant A residues in one strand and T residues in the complementary strand) sequence motifs. In this work we present the characterization of a third fission yeast replication origin, ars3001, which is relatively small (∼570 bp) and responsible for replication of ribosomal DNA. Like previously studied fission yeast origins, ars3001 contains multiple important regions. The three most important of these regions resemble each other in several ways: each region is essential for origin function and is at least partially orientation dependent, each region contains similar clusters of A+T-rich asymmetric sequences, and the regions can partially substitute for each other. These observations suggest that ars3001 function requires synergistic interactions between domains binding similar proteins. It is likely that this requirement extends to other fission yeast origins, explaining why such origins are larger than those of budding yeast.
PMCID: PMC109311  PMID: 9819416
14.  Isolation, Characterization, and Molecular Cloning of a Protein (Abp2) That Binds to a Schizosaccharomyces pombe Origin of Replication (ars3002) 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  1998;18(3):1670-1681.
The autonomously replicating sequence (ARS) element ars3002 is associated with the most active replication origin within a cluster of three closely spaced origins on chromosome III of Schizosaccharomyces pombe. A 361-bp portion of ars3002 containing detectable ARS activity includes multiple near matches to the S. pombe ARS consensus sequence previously reported by Maundrell et al. (K. Maundrell, A. Hutchison, and S. Shall, EMBO J. 7:2203–2209, 1988). Using a gel shift assay with a multimer of an oligonucleotide containing three overlapping matches to the Maundrell ARS consensus sequence, we have detected several proteins in S. pombe crude extracts that bind to the oligonucleotide and ars3002. One of these proteins, ARS binding protein 1, was previously described (Abp1 [Y. Murakami, J. A. Huberman, and J. Hurwitz, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 93:502–507, 1996]). In this report the isolation, characterization, and cloning of a second binding activity, designated ARS binding protein 2 (Abp2), are described. Purified Abp2 has an apparent molecular mass of 75 kDa. Footprinting analyses revealed that it binds preferentially to overlapping near matches to the Maundrell ARS consensus sequence. The gene abp2 was isolated, sequenced, and overexpressed in Escherichia coli. The DNA binding activity of overexpressed Abp2 was similar to that of native Abp2. The deduced amino acid sequence contains a region similar to a proline-rich motif (GRP) present in several proteins that bind A+T-rich DNA sequences. Replacement of amino acids within this motif with alanine either abolished or markedly reduced the DNA binding activity of the mutated Abp2 protein, indicating that this motif is essential for the DNA binding activity of Abp2. Disruption of the abp2 gene showed that the gene is not essential for cell viability. However, at elevated temperatures the null mutant was less viable than the wild type and exhibited changes in nuclear morphology. The null mutant entered mitosis with delayed kinetics when DNA replication was blocked with hydroxyurea, and advancement through mitosis led to the loss of cell viability and aberrant formation of septa. The null mutant was also sensitive to UV radiation, suggesting that Abp2 may play a role in regulating the cell cycle response to stress signals.
PMCID: PMC108882  PMID: 9488484
The Journal of Cell Biology  1966;31(1):95-105.
The authors have developed a method for large-scale isolation of metaphase chromosomes from HeLa cells. The distinguishing feature of this method is the use of a pH sufficiently low (about 3) to stabilize the chromosomes against mechanical damage. Many milligrams of fairly pure, morphologically intact chromosomes can be isolated in 8 hr or less of total working time. The isolated chromosomes contain about 2.0 mg of acid-soluble protein, 2.7 mg of acid-insoluble protein and 0.66 mg of RNA for each milligram of DNA. The RNA bound to the isolated chromosomes consists mainly of ribosomal RNA, but there is also a significant amount of 45S RNA.
PMCID: PMC2107040  PMID: 5339564

Results 1-15 (15)