Direct Restart of a Replication Fork Stalled by a Head-On RNA Polymerase

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Science  29 Jan 2010:
Vol. 327, Issue 5965, pp. 590-592
DOI: 10.1126/science.1179595

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In vivo studies suggest that replication forks are arrested by encounters with head-on transcription complexes. Yet, the fate of the replisome and RNA polymerase (RNAP) after a head-on collision is unknown. We found that the Escherichia coli replisome stalls upon collision with a head-on transcription complex, but instead of collapsing, the replication fork remains highly stable and eventually resumes elongation after displacing the RNAP from DNA. We also found that the transcription-repair coupling factor Mfd promotes direct restart of the fork after the collision by facilitating displacement of the RNAP. These findings demonstrate the intrinsic stability of the replication apparatus and a previously unknown role for the transcription-coupled repair pathway in promoting replication past a RNAP block.

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