Topological challenges to DNA replication: conformations at the fork. .
Postow L, Crisona NJ, Peter BJ, Hardy CD, Cozzarelli NR
Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences USA (2001)
Category: topoisomerase ¤ Added: Nov 19, 2002 ¤ Rating: ◊◊
The unwinding of the parental DNA duplex during replication causes a positive linking number difference, or superhelical strain, to build up around the elongating replication fork. The branching at the fork and this strain bring about different conformations from that of (-) supercoiled DNA that is not being replicated. The replicating DNA can form (+) precatenanes, in which the daughter DNAs are intertwined, and (+) supercoils. Topoisomerases have the essential role of relieving the superhelical strain by removing these structures. Stalled replication forks of molecules with a (+) superhelical strain have the additional option of regressing, forming a four-way junction at the replication fork. This four-way junction can be acted on by recombination enzymes to restart replication. Replication and chromosome folding are made easier by topological domain barriers, which sequester the substrates for topoisomerases into defined and concentrated regions. Domain barriers also allow replicated DNA to be (-) supercoiled. We discuss the importance of replicating DNA conformations and the roles of topoisomerases, focusing on recent work from our laboratory.