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Abstract

The chromosomes of eukaryotic cells possess many potential DNA replication origins, of which a subset is selected in response to the cellular environment, such as the developmental stage, to act as active replication start sites. The mechanism of origin selection is not yet fully understood. In this review, we summarize recent observations regarding replication origins and initiator proteins in various organisms. These studies suggest that the DNA-binding specificities of the initiator proteins that bind to the replication origins and promote DNA replication are primarily responsible for origin selection. We particularly focus on the importance of transcription factors in the origin selection process. We propose that transcription factors are general regulators of the formation of functional complexes on the chromosome, including the replication initiation complex. We discuss the possible mechanisms by which transcription factors influence the selection of particular origins. BioEssays 27:1107–1106, 2005. © 2005 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.