Centre for Gene Regulation & Expression
College of Life Sciences
University of Dundee
Lab Head: Prof. J. Julian Blow
Chromosome replication is a key event in the eukaryotic cell division cycle. During S phase the entire genome must be faithfully duplicated with the minimum of errors. The many thousands of replication forks involved in this process must be co-ordinated to ensure that despite the very large quantities of DNA involved, no section of DNA is left unreplicated and no section of DNA is replicated more than once. Cells achieve this by having a distinct stage that occurs prior to S phase when replication origins are "licensed" for replication. At the onset of S phase, replication forks are initiated only at these licensed replication origins. As initiation occurs at each origin, the licence is removed, thereby ensuring that it fires only once in each cell cycle. Mistakes made in this process may cause irreversible genetic modifications that could ultimately lead to the cells becoming cancerous. Many early stage cancer cells have lost the ability to correctly down-regulate the licensing system, suggesting that it is an important control system for cancer cells to evade.
The aim of our work is to take a multi-disciplinary approach to understanding how cells ensure that the genome is precisely duplicated during each cell cycle and to apply this knowledge to improving the diagnosis and treatment of cancer. See the following pages for further information: