Mitomycin C reduces abundance of replication forks but not rates of fork progression in primary and transformed human cells

Keffy R.M. Kehrli1, and Julia M. Sidorova1

1 Department of Pathology, University of Washington, Seattle, WA


Julia M. Sidorova, email:

Keywords: DNA replication, cell cycle, S phase, mitomycin C, DNA crosslinks, Fanconi Anemia protein D2, DNA fiber analysis

Received: July 23, 2014 Accepted: July 26, 2014 Published: July 27, 2014


DNA crosslinks can block replication in vitro and slow down S phase progression in vivo. We characterized the effect of mitomycin C crosslinker on S phase globally and on individual replication forks in wild type and FANCD2-deficient human cells. FANCD2 is critical to crosslink repair, and is also implicated in facilitating DNA replication. We used DNA fiber analysis to demonstrate persistent reduction in abundance but not progression rate of replication forks during an S phase of MMC-treated cells. FANCD2 deficiency did not eliminate this phenotype. Immunoprecipitation of EdU-labeled DNA indicated that replication was not suppressed in the domains that were undergoing response to MMC as marked by the presence of γH2AX, and in fact γH2AX was overrepresented on DNA that had replicated immediately after MMC in wild type through less so in FANCD2-depleted cells. FANCD2-depleted cells also produced fewer tracks of uninterrupted replication of up to 240Kb long, regardless of MMC treatment. Overall, the data suggest that crosslinks may not pose a block to S phase as a whole, but instead profoundly change its progress by reducing density of replication forks and causing at least a fraction of forks to operate within a DNA damage response-altered chromatin.

PII: 70