- The initiation of DNA replication in Saccharomyces cerevisiae requires the protein product of the CDC45 gene. We report that although Cdc45p is present at essentially constant levels throughout the cell cycle, it completes its initiation function in late G1, after START and prior to DNA synthesis. Shortly after mitosis, cells prepare for initiation by assembling prereplicative complexes at their replication origins. These complexes are then triggered at the onset of S phase to commence DNA replication. Cells defective for CDC45 are incapable of activating the complexes to initiate DNA replication. In addition, Cdc45p and Cdc7p/Dbf4p, a kinase implicated in the G1/S phase transition, are dependent on one another for function. These data indicate that CDC45 functions in late G1 phase in concert with CDC7/DBF4 to trigger initiation at replication origins after the assembly of the prereplicative complexes.