During metazoan development, the cell cycle is remodelled to coordinate proliferation with differentiation. Developmental cues cause dramatic changes in the number and timing of replication initiation events, but the mechanisms and physiological importance of such changes are poorly understood. Cyclin-dependent kinases (CDKs) are important for regulating S-phase length in many metazoa, and here we show in the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans that an essential function of CDKs during early embryogenesis is to regulate the interactions between three replication initiation factors SLD-3, SLD-2 and MUS-101 (Dpb11/ TopBP1). Mutations that bypass the requirement for CDKs to generate interactions between these factors is partly sufficient for viability in the absence of Cyclin E, demonstrating that this is a critical embryonic function of this Cyclin. Both SLD-2 and SLD-3 are asymmetrically localised in the early embryo and the levels of these proteins inversely correlate with S-phase length. We also show that SLD-2 asymmetry is determined by direct interaction with the polarity protein PKC-3. This study explains an essential function of CDKs for replication initiation in a metazoan and provides the first direct molecular mechanism through which polarization of the embryo is coordinated with DNA replication initiation factors. that two factors SLD-2 and SLD-3 are critical to control the decision to begin genome duplication. We show that these factors are differently distributed to different cell lineages in the early embryo, which may be a key event in determining the cell cycle rate in these cells. For the first time we show that, PKC-3, a key component of the machinery that determines the front (anterior) from the back (posterior) of the embryo directly controls SLD-2 distribution, which might explain how the polarisation of the embryo causes changes in the proliferation of different cell lineages. As PKC-3 is frequently mutated in human cancers, how this factor controls cell proliferation may be important to understand tumour progression.

doi.org/10.1371/JOURNAL.PGEN.1008948, hdl.handle.net/1765/133248
PL o S Genetics (Online)
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Gaggioli, V. (Vincent), Kieninger, M.R. (Manuela R.), Klucnika, A. (Anna), Butler, R. (Richard), & Zegerman, P. (Philip). (2020). Identification of the critical replication targets of CDK reveals direct regulation of replication initiation factors by the embryo polarity machinery in C. elegans. PL o S Genetics (Online), 16(12). doi:10.1371/JOURNAL.PGEN.1008948