Telomeric and adjacent subtelomeric heterochromatin pose significant challenges to the DNA replication machinery. Little is known about how replication progresses through these regions in human cells. Using single molecule analysis of replicated DNA (SMARD), we delineate the replication programs-i.e., origin distribution, termination site location, and fork rate and direction-of specific telomeres/subtelomeres of individual human chromosomes in two embryonic stem (ES) cell lines and two primary somatic cell types. We observe that replication can initiate within human telomere repeats but was most frequently accomplished by replisomes originating in the subtelomere. No major delay or pausing in fork progression was detected that might lead to telomere/subtelomere fragility. In addition, telomeres from different chromosomes from the same cell type displayed chromosome-specific replication programs rather than a universal program. Importantly, although there was some variation in the replication program of the same telomere in different cell types, the basic features of the program of a specific chromosome end appear to be conserved.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cell Biology