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Bioessays. 2000 Nov;22(11):997-1006.

The puzzle of PCNA's many partners.

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1
Department of Surgery and Molecular Oncology, University of Dundee, Ninewells Hospital and Medical School, Dundee DD1 9SY, UK. e.warbrick@dundee.ac.uk

Abstract

The identification of proteins that interact with proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA) has recently been a rapidly expanding field of discovery. PCNA is involved in many aspects of DNA replication and processing, forming a sliding platform that can mediate the interaction of proteins with DNA. It is striking that many proteins bind to PCNA through a small region containing a conserved motif; these include proteins involved in cell cycle regulation as well as those involved in DNA processing. Sequential and regulated binding of motif-containing proteins to PCNA may contribute to the ordering of events during DNA replication and repair. Results from bacteriophages and archaea show that the structural basis for the interaction of this motif with PCNA is extremely ancient. The analysis of how such functional motifs have been recruited to proteins in present day organisms helps us to understand how these complex systems arose from ancestral organisms.

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