DNA replication-coupled nucleosome assembly is essential to maintain genome integrity and retain epigenetic information. Multiple involved histone chaperones have been identified, but how nucleosome assembly is coupled to DNA replication remains elusive. Here we show that replication protein A (RPA), an essential replisome component that binds single-stranded DNA, has a role in replication-coupled nucleosome assembly. RPA directly binds free H3-H4. Assays using a synthetic sequence that mimics freshly unwound single-stranded DNA at replication fork showed that RPA promotes DNA-(H3-H4) complex formation immediately adjacent to double-stranded DNA. Further, an RPA mutant defective in H3-H4 binding exhibited attenuated nucleosome assembly on nascent chromatin. Thus, we propose that RPA functions as a platform for targeting histone deposition to replication fork, through which RPA couples nucleosome assembly with ongoing DNA replication.
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