The Prioleau Lab recently published a new article in dans Nature Communications:
Replication of vertebrate genomes is tightly regulated to ensure accurate duplication, but our understanding of the interplay between genetic and epigenetic factors in this regulation remains incomplete. Here, we investigated the involvement of three elements enriched at gene promoters and replication origins: guanine-rich motifs potentially forming G-quadruplexes (pG4s), nucleosome-free regions (NFRs), and the histone variant H2A.Z, in the firing of origins of replication in vertebrates. We show that two pG4s on the same DNA strand (dimeric pG4s) are sufficient to induce the assembly of an efficient minimal replication origin without inducing transcription in avian DT40 cells. Dimeric pG4s in replication origins are associated with formation of an NFR next to precisely-positioned nucleosomes enriched in H2A.Z on this minimal origin and genome-wide. Thus, our data suggest that dimeric pG4s are important for the organization and duplication of vertebrate genomes. It supports the hypothesis that a nucleosome close to an NFR is a shared signal for the formation of replication origins in eukaryotes.