The Francis Crick Institute
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ORC1 binds to cis-transcribed RNAs for efficient activation of replication origins.

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journal contribution
posted on 2023-07-31, 09:17 authored by Aina Maria Mas, Enrique Goñi, Igor Ruiz de los Mozos, Aida Arcas, Luisa Statello, Jovanna González, Lorea Blázquez, Wei Ting Chelsea Lee, Dipika Gupta, Álvaro Sejas, Shoko Hoshina, Alexandros Armaos, Gian Gaetano Tartaglia, Shou Waga, Jernej Ule, Eli Rothenberg, María Gómez, Maite Huarte
Cells must coordinate the activation of thousands of replication origins dispersed throughout their genome. Active transcription is known to favor the formation of mammalian origins, although the role that RNA plays in this process remains unclear. We show that the ORC1 subunit of the human Origin Recognition Complex interacts with RNAs transcribed from genes with origins in their transcription start sites (TSSs), displaying a positive correlation between RNA binding and origin activity. RNA depletion, or the use of ORC1 RNA-binding mutant, result in inefficient activation of proximal origins, linked to impaired ORC1 chromatin release. ORC1 RNA binding activity resides in its intrinsically disordered region, involved in intra- and inter-molecular interactions, regulation by phosphorylation, and phase-separation. We show that RNA binding favors ORC1 chromatin release, by regulating its phosphorylation and subsequent degradation. Our results unveil a non-coding function of RNA as a dynamic component of the chromatin, orchestrating the activation of replication origins.