As the ratio of the copy number of the most replicated to the unreplicated regions in the same chromosome, the definition of chromosomal replication complexity (CRC) appears to leave little room for variation, being either two during S-phase or one otherwise. However, bacteria dividing faster than they replicate their chromosome spike CRC to four and even eight. A recent experimental inquiry about the limits of CRC in Escherichia coli revealed two major reasons to avoid elevating it further: (i) increased chromosomal fragmentation and (ii) complications with subsequent double-strand break repair. Remarkably, examples of stable elevated CRC in eukaryotic chromosomes are well known under various terms like "differential replication," "underreplication," "DNA puffs," "onion-skin replication," or "re-replication" and highlight the phenomenon of static replication fork (sRF). To accurately describe the resulting "amplification by overinitiation," I propose a new term: "replification" (subchromosomal overreplication). In both prokaryotes and eukaryotes, replification, via sRF processing, causes double-strand DNA breaks and, with their repair elevating chromosomal rearrangements, represents a novel genome instability factor. I suggest how static replication bubbles could be stabilized and speculate that some tandem duplications represent such persistent static bubbles. Moreover, I propose how static replication bubbles could be transformed into tandem duplications, double minutes, or inverted triplications. Possible experimental tests of these models are discussed.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Molecular Biology
- Cancer Research