Defining the replication program through the chromatin landscape.
by Queying Ding and David MacAlpine
DNA replication is an essential cell cycle event required for the accurate and timely duplication of the chromosomes. It is essential that the genome is replicated accurately and completely within the confines of S-phase. Failure to completely copy the genome has the potential to result in catastrophic genomic instability. Replication initiates in a coordinated manner from multiple locations, termed origins of replication, distributed across each of the chromosomes. The selection of these origins of replication is a dynamic process responding to both developmental and tissue-specific signals. In this review, we explore the role of the local chromatin environment in regulating the DNA replication program at the level of origin selection and activation. Finally, there is increasing molecular evidence that the DNA replication program itself affects the chromatin landscape, suggesting that DNA replication is critical for both genetic and epigenetic inheritance.