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Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci. Jan 29, 2004; 359(1441): 7–16.
PMCID: PMC1693299

Dynamics of pre-replication complex proteins during the cell division cycle.


Replication of the human genome every time a cell divides is a highly coordinated process that ensures accurate and efficient inheritance of the genetic information. The molecular mechanism that guarantees that many origins of replication fire only once per cell-cycle has been the area of intense research. The origin recognition complex (ORC) marks the position of replication origins in the genome and serves as the landing pad for the assembly of a multiprotein, pre-replicative complex (pre-RC) at the origins, consisting of ORC, cell division cycle 6 (Cdc6), Cdc10-dependent transcript (Cdt1) and mini-chromosome maintenance (MCM) proteins. The MCM proteins serve as key participants in the mechanism that limits eukaryotic DNA replication to once-per-cell-cycle and its binding to the chromatin marks the final step of pre-RC formation, a process referred to as 'replication licensing'. We present data demonstrating how the MCM proteins associate with the chromatin during the G1 phase, probably defining pre-RCs and then anticipate replication fork movement in a precisely coordinated manner during the S phase of the cell cycle. The process of DNA replication must also be carefully coordinated with other cell-cycle processes including mitosis and cytokinesis. Some of the proteins that control initiation of DNA replication are likely to interact with the pathways that control these important cell-cycle transitions. Herein, we discuss the participation of human ORC proteins in other vital functions, in addition to their bona fide roles in replication.

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Selected References

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