A link between repetitive sequences and gene replication time

M. Regelson, C. D. Eller, S. Horvath, Y. Marahrens

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Genes display a wide range of replication times in S phase. In general, late replication is associated with transcriptionally repressive states and early replication with transcriptional competence. Rare examples of early-replicating repressive states have also been identified that are consistent with molecular evidence that repressive states are not all uniform in nature. Here we show that the replication times of over 4000 Drosophila genes correlate with the abundance of repetitive sequences in ∼200-kb regions flanking the genes. In particular, Satellite-Related sequences (SRs) and the simple sequence repeats (SSRs) (CA)n and (ACTG)n were increasingly abundant in the regions flanking progressively later replicating genes, while (CATA)n repeats were more abundant around earlier replicating genes. These four sequences comprise less than 0.5% of the 'euchromatic genome' in Drosophila, yet they account for 5% of the variation of gene replication timing. Although the effect is not strong, it is broad: 99% of the genome is within the region of correlation of at least one of the above repeats. The role of SSRs and non-centromeric SRs in the genome is not known. We propose that SSRs and SRs foster transcriptionally repressive states throughout the genome in order to minimize spurious transcription.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)184-193
Number of pages10
JournalCytogenetic and Genome Research
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - 2006
Externally publishedYes


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