DNA replication occurs through an intricately regulated series of molecular events and is fundamental for genome stability across dividing cells in metazoans. It is currently unknown how the location of replication origins and the timing of their activation is determined in the human genome. Here, we dissect the role for G1 phase topologically associating domains (TADs), subTADs, and loops in the activation of replication initiation zones (IZs). We identify twelve subtypes of self-interacting chromatin domains distinguished by their degree of nesting, the presence of corner dot structures indicative of loops, and their co-localization with A/B compartments. Early replicating IZs localize to boundaries of nested corner-dot TAD/subTADs anchored by high density arrays of co-occupied CTCF+cohesin binding sites with divergently oriented motifs. By contrast, late replicating IZs localize to weak TADs/subTAD boundaries devoid of corner dots and most often anchored by singlet CTCF+cohesin sites. Upon global knock-down of cohesin-mediated loops in G1, early wave focal IZs replicate later in S phase and convert to diffuse placement along the genome. Moreover, IZs in mid-late S phase are delayed to the final minutes before entry into G2 when cohesin-mediated dot-less boundaries are ablated. We also delete a specific loop anchor and observe a sharp local delay of an early wave IZ to replication in late S phase. Our data demonstrate that cohesin-mediated loops at genetically-encoded TAD/subTAD boundaries in G1 phase are an essential determinant of the precise genomic placement of human replication origins in S phase. ### Competing Interest Statement The authors have declared no competing interest.
Daniel Emerson • Peiyao A Zhao • Kyle Klein • Chunmin Ge • Linda Zhou • Takayo Sasaki • Liyan Yang • Sergey V. Venvev • Johan H. Gibcus • Job Dekker • David M. Gilbert • Jennifer E. Phillips-Cremins