Billions of base pairs of DNA must be replicated trillions of times in a human lifetime. Complete and accurate replication once and only once per cell division cycle is essential to maintain genome integrity and prevent disease. Impediments to replication fork progression including difficult to replicate DNA sequences, conflicts with transcription, and DNA damage further add to the genome maintenance challenge. These obstacles frequently cause fork stalling, but only rarely cause a failure to complete replication. Robust mechanisms ensure that stalled forks remain stable and capable of either resuming DNA synthesis or being rescued by converging forks. However, when failures do happen the fork collapses leading to genome rearrangements, cell death and disease. Despite intense interest, the mechanisms to repair damaged replication forks, stabilize them, and ensure successful replication remain only partly understood. Different models of fork collapse have been proposed with varying descriptions of what happens to the DNA and replisome. Here, I will define fork collapse and describe what is known about how the replication checkpoint prevents it to maintain genome stability.
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