Transcription shapes DNA replication initiation to preserve genome integrity
Background Early DNA replication occurs within actively transcribed chromatin compartments in mammalian cells, raising the immediate question of how early DNA replication coordinates with transcription to avoid collisions and DNA damage. Results We develop a high-throughput nucleoside analog incorporation sequencing assay and identify thousands of early replication initiation zones in both mouse and human cells. The identified early replication initiation zones fall in open chromatin
... hromatin compartments and are mutually exclusive with transcription elongation. Of note, early replication initiation zones are mainly located in non-transcribed regions adjacent to transcribed regions. Mechanistically, we find that RNA polymerase II actively redistributes the chromatin-bound mini-chromosome maintenance complex (MCM), but not the origin recognition complex (ORC), to actively restrict early DNA replication initiation outside of transcribed regions. In support of this finding, we detect apparent MCM accumulation and DNA replication initiation in transcribed regions due to anchoring of nuclease-dead Cas9 at transcribed genes, which stalls RNA polymerase II. Finally, we find that the orchestration of early DNA replication initiation by transcription efficiently prevents gross DNA damage. Conclusion RNA polymerase II redistributes MCM complexes, but not the ORC, to prevent early DNA replication from initiating within transcribed regions. This RNA polymerase II-driven MCM redistribution spatially separates transcription and early DNA replication events and avoids the transcription-replication initiation collision, thereby providing a critical regulatory mechanism to preserve genome stability.