Linking the organization of DNA replication with genome maintenance Singh B and Wu PY Current Genetics 65(3):677-683. doi: 10.1007/s00294-018-0923-8



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The spatial and temporal organization of genome duplication, also referred to as the replication program, is defined by the distribution and the activities of the sites of replication initiation across the genome. Alterations to the replication profile are associated with cell fate changes during development and in pathologies, but the importance of undergoing S phase with distinct and specific programs remains largely unexplored. We have recently addressed this question, focusing on the interplay between the replication program and genome maintenance. In particular, we demonstrated that when cells encounter challenges to DNA synthesis, the organization of DNA replication drives the response to replication stress that is mediated by the ATR/Rad3 checkpoint pathway, thus shaping the pattern of genome instability along the chromosomes. In this review, we present the major findings of our study and discuss how they may bring new perspectives to our understanding of the biological importance of the replication program.

Insights into the Link between the Organization of DNA Replication and the Mutational Landscape Gaboriaud J and Wu PY Genes 10(4). pii: E252. doi: 10.3390/genes10040252



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The generation of a complete and accurate copy of the genetic material during each cell cycle is integral to cell growth and proliferation. However, genetic diversity is essential for adaptation and evolution, and the process of DNA replication is a fundamental source of mutations. Genome alterations do not accumulate randomly, with variations in the types and frequencies of mutations that arise in different genomic regions. Intriguingly, recent studies revealed a striking link between the mutational landscape of a genome and the spatial and temporal organization of DNA replication, referred to as the replication program. In our review, we discuss how this program may contribute to shaping the profile and spectrum of genetic alterations, with implications for genome dynamics and organismal evolution in natural and pathological contexts.

The organization of genome duplication is a critical determinant of the landscape of genome maintenance Gómez-Escoda B and Wu PY Genome Research doi/10.1101/gr.224527.117 2018-06-22



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Genome duplication is essential for cell proliferation, and the mechanisms regulating its execution are highly conserved. These processes give rise to a spatiotemporal organization of replication initiation across the genome, referred to as the replication program. Despite the identification of such programs in diverse eukaryotic organisms, their biological importance for cellular physiology remains largely unexplored. We address this fundamental question in the context of genome maintenance, taking advantage of the inappropriate origin firing that occurs when fission yeast cells lacking the Rad3/ATR checkpoint kinase are subjected to replication stress. Using this model, we demonstrate that the replication program quantitatively dictates the extent of origin de-regulation and the clustered localization of these events. Furthermore, our results uncover an accumulation of abnormal levels of single-stranded DNA (ssDNA) and the Rad52 repair protein at de-regulated origins. We show that these loci constitute a defining source of the overall ssDNA and Rad52 hotspots in the genome, generating a signature pattern of instability along the chromosomes. We then induce a genome-wide reprogramming of origin usage and evaluate its consequences in our experimental system. This leads to a complete redistribution of the sites of both inappropriate initiation and associated Rad52 recruitment. We therefore conclude that the organization of genome duplication governs the checkpoint control of origin-associated hotspots of instability and plays an integral role in shaping the landscape of genome maintenance.

Regulation of the program of DNA replication by CDK: new findings and perspectives Singh B and Wu PY Current Genetics



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Progression through the cell cycle is driven by the activities of the cyclin-dependent kinase (CDK) family of enzymes, which establish an ordered passage through the cell cycle phases. CDK activity is crucial for the cellular transitions from G1 to S and G2 to M, which are highly controlled to promote the faithful duplication of the genetic material and the transmission of the genome into daughter cells, respectively. While oscillations in CDK activity are essential for cell division, how its specific dynamics may shape cellular processes remains an open question. Recently, we have investigated the potential role of CDK in establishing the profile of replication initiation along the chromosomes, also referred to as the replication program. Our results demonstrated that the timing and level of CDK activity at G1/S provide two critical and independent inputs that modulate the pattern of origin usage. In this review, we will present the conclusions of our study and discuss the implications of our findings for cellular function and physiology.

CDK activity provides temporal and quantitative cues for organizing genome duplication Perrot A, Millington CL, Gómez-Escoda B, Schausi-Tiffoche D, and Wu PY PLOS Genetics 14(2):e1007214; pgen.1007214



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In eukaryotes, the spatial and temporal organization of genome duplication gives rise to distinctive profiles of replication origin usage along the chromosomes. While it has become increasingly clear that these programs are important for cellular physiology, the mechanisms by which they are determined and modulated remain elusive. Replication initiation requires the function of cyclin-dependent kinases (CDKs), which associate with various cyclin partners to drive cell proliferation. Surprisingly, although we possess detailed knowledge of the CDK regulators and targets that are crucial for origin activation, little is known about whether CDKs play a critical role in establishing the genome-wide pattern of origin selection. We have addressed this question in the fission yeast, taking advantage of a simplified cell cycle network in which cell proliferation is driven by a single cyclin-CDK module. This system allows us to precisely control CDK activity in vivo using chemical genetics. First, in contrast to previous reports, our results clearly show that distinct cyclin-CDK pairs are not essential for regulating specific subsets of origins and for establishing a normal replication program. Importantly, we then demonstrate that the timing at which CDK activity reaches the S phase threshold is critical for the organization of replication in distinct efficiency domains, while the level of CDK activity at the onset of S phase is a dose-dependent modulator of overall origin efficiencies. Our study therefore implicates these different aspects of CDK regulation as versatile mechanisms for shaping the architecture of DNA replication across the genome.

Thermoplastic elastomer with advanced hydrophilization and bonding performances for rapid (30s) and easy molding of microfluidic devices Julie Lachaux, Clara Alcaine, Blanca Gómez-Escoda, Cécile M. Perrault, David Olea Duplan, Pei-Yun Jenny Wu, Iñaki Ochoa, Luis Fernandez, Olaf Mercier, Damien Coudreuse and Emmanuel Roy Lab on a Chip 2017,17, 2581-2594; doi:10.1039/C7LC00488E



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One of the most important areas of research on microfluidic technologies focuses on the identification and characterisation of novel materials with enhanced properties and versatility. Here we present a fast, easy and inexpensive microstructuration method for the fabrication of novel, flexible, transparent and biocompatible microfluidic devices. Using a simple hot press, we demonstrate the rapid (30 s) production of various microfluidic prototypes embossed in a commercially available soft thermoplastic elastomer (sTPE). This styrenic block copolymer (BCP) material is as flexible as PDMS and as thermoformable as classical thermoplastics. It exhibits high fidelity of replication using SU-8 and epoxy master molds in a highly convenient low-isobar (0.4 bar) and iso-thermal process. Microfluidic devices can then be easily sealed using either a simple hot plate or even a room-temperature assembly, allowing them to sustain liquid pressures of 2 and 0.6 bar, respectively. The excellent sorption and biocompatibility properties of the microchips were validated via a standard rhodamine dye assay as well as a sensitive yeast cell-based assay. The morphology and composition of the surface area after plasma treatment for hydrophilization purposes are stable and show constant and homogenous distribution of block nanodomains (∼22° after 4 days). These domains, which are evenly distributed on the nanoscale, therefore account for the uniform and convenient surface of a “microfluidic scale device”. To our knowledge, this is the first thermoplastic elastomer material that can be used for fast and reliable fabrication and assembly of microdevices while maintaining a high and stable hydrophilicity.

Roles of CDK and DDK in Genome Duplication and Maintenance: Meiotic Singularities Gómez-Escoda B and Wu PY Genes 8(3), 105; doi:10.3390/genes8030105



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Cells reproduce using two types of divisions: mitosis, which generates two daughter cells each with the same genomic content as the mother cell, and meiosis, which reduces the number of chromosomes of the parent cell by half and gives rise to four gametes. The mechanisms that promote the proper progression of the mitotic and meiotic cycles are highly conserved and controlled. They require the activities of two types of serine-threonine kinases, the cyclin-dependent kinases (CDKs) and the Dbf4-dependent kinase (DDK). CDK and DDK are essential for genome duplication and maintenance in both mitotic and meiotic divisions. In this review, we aim to highlight how these kinases cooperate to orchestrate diverse processes during cellular reproduction, focusing on meiosis-specific adaptions of their regulation and functions in DNA metabolism.