The goal of this research is to determine the mechanism and regulation of the initiation of DNA replication in eukaryotic cells. It is clear that for maintenance of the integrity of the genome from one cell generation to the next, DNA and its associated chromatin structures must be duplicated in a highly controlled and accurate manner. Interruption of these controls may promote genome instability and lead to neoplastic transformation. Moreover, the DNA replication proteins represent tangible targets for therapeutic intervention and diagnosis of proliferation of cancer cells, and other proliferative disorders. The initiator protein (ORC) cooperates with a series of DNA replication proteins, including Cdc6 to establish at origins of DNA replication a complex that allows later initiation of DNA synthesis at each origin. The initiator protein is a multi-subunit, ATP-dependent DNA binding protein that cooperates with another ATPase, Cdc6. The proposed research in this application will investigate, using the yeast S. cerevisiae, how DNA replication occurs in an ORC- and origin-dependent manner and how initiation of DNA replication and chromatin inheritance is temporally controlled throughout the cell division cycle.
In specific aim 1, the biochemical mechanisms of initiation of DNA replication will be investigated.
In specific aim 2, the role of the Cdc7-Dbf4 (DDK) protein kinase in the control of initiation of DNA and other processes will be studied.
In specific aim 3, the role of the DNA polymerase clamp loader PCNA will be investigated in chromatin inheritance and genomic stability, including the role of dNTP metabolism in this process.The inheritance of the genome involves copying the DNA and the associated protein structures that organize chromosome structure and control gene expression. These processes have to be highly accurate because any errors that occur can lead to genome instability and progression toward cancer. The research involves study of the mechanism and control of genome duplication in yeast cells as a model for how this occurs in human cells.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS)
Research Project (R01)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Molecular Genetics A Study Section (MGA)
Program Officer
Hagan, Ann A
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
Cold Spring Harbor
United States
Zip Code
Sheu, Yi-Jun; Kinney, Justin B; Stillman, Bruce (2016) Concerted activities of Mcm4, Sld3, and Dbf4 in control of origin activation and DNA replication fork progression. Genome Res 26:315-30
Stillman, Bruce (2015) Reconsidering DNA Polymerases at the Replication Fork in Eukaryotes. Mol Cell 59:139-41
Sun, Jingchuan; Fernandez-Cid, Alejandra; Riera, Alberto et al. (2014) Structural and mechanistic insights into Mcm2-7 double-hexamer assembly and function. Genes Dev 28:2291-303
Sheu, Yi-Jun; Kinney, Justin B; Lengronne, Armelle et al. (2014) Domain within the helicase subunit Mcm4 integrates multiple kinase signals to control DNA replication initiation and fork progression. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 111:E1899-908
Sun, Jingchuan; Evrin, Cecile; Samel, Stefan A et al. (2013) Cryo-EM structure of a helicase loading intermediate containing ORC-Cdc6-Cdt1-MCM2-7 bound to DNA. Nat Struct Mol Biol 20:944-51
Rossmann, Marlies P; Stillman, Bruce (2013) Immunoblotting histones from yeast whole-cell protein extracts. Cold Spring Harb Protoc 2013:625-30
O'Donnell, Michael; Langston, Lance; Stillman, Bruce (2013) Principles and concepts of DNA replication in bacteria, archaea, and eukarya. Cold Spring Harb Perspect Biol 5:
Li, Huilin; Stillman, Bruce (2012) The origin recognition complex: a biochemical and structural view. Subcell Biochem 62:37-58
Sun, Jingchuan; Kawakami, Hironori; Zech, Juergen et al. (2012) Cdc6-induced conformational changes in ORC bound to origin DNA revealed by cryo-electron microscopy. Structure 20:534-44
Kang, Bin; Pu, Mintie; Hu, Gangqing et al. (2011) Phosphorylation of H4 Ser 47 promotes HIRA-mediated nucleosome assembly. Genes Dev 25:1359-64

Showing the most recent 10 out of 30 publications