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.