* To whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received May 28, 2013; Revision received August 29, 2013
Identification of the nucleotide consensus sequence in mammalian replication origins is a difficult and controversial problem. The hypothesis that local DNA topology could be involved in recognition by replication proteins is an exciting possibility. Secondary DNA structures, including intrinsically bent DNA, can be easily detected, and they may indicate a specific pattern in or near mammalian replication origins. This work presents the entire mapping of the intrinsically bent DNA sites (IBDSs), using in silico analysis and a circular permutation assay, of the DNA replication origins oriGNAI3, oriC, oriB, and oriA in the mammalian amplified AMPD2 gene domain. The results show that each origin presents an IBDS that flanks the straight core of these DNA replication sites. In addition, the in silico prediction of the nucleosome positioning reveals a strong indication that the center of an IBDS is localized in a nucleosome-free region (NFR). The structure of each of these curved sites is presented together with their helical parameters and topology. Together, the data that we present here indicate that the oriGNAI3 origin where preferential firing to the replication initiation events in the amplified AMPD2 domain occurs is the only origin that presents a straight, narrow region that is flanked on both sides by two intrinsically bent DNA sites within a short distance (~300 bp); however, all of the origins present at least one IBDS, which is localized in the NFR region. These results indicate that structural features could be implicated in the mammalian DNA replication origin and support the possibility of detecting and characterizing these segments.
KEY WORDS: intrinsically bent DNA sites, DNA replication origins, AMPD2 mammalian amplified domain