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DNA replication times the cell cycle and contributes to the mid-blastula transition in Drosophila embryos.

  • Author(s): McCleland, Mark L
  • Shermoen, Antony W
  • O'Farrell, Patrick H
  • et al.
Abstract

We examined the contribution of S phase in timing cell cycle progression during Drosophila embryogenesis using an approach that deletes S phase rather than arresting its progress. Injection of Drosophila Geminin, an inhibitor of replication licensing, prevented subsequent replication so that the following mitosis occurred with uninemic chromosomes, which failed to align. The effect of S phase deletion on interphase length changed with development. During the maternally regulated syncytial blastoderm cycles, deleting S phase shortened interphase, and deletion of the last of blastoderm S phase (cycle 14) induced an extra synchronous division and temporarily deferred mid-blastula transition (MBT) events. In contrast, deleting S phase after the MBT in cycle 15 did not dramatically affect mitotic timing, which appears to retain its dependence on developmentally programmed zygotic transcription. We conclude that normal S phase and replication checkpoint activities are important timers of the undisturbed cell cycle before, but not after, the MBT.

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