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J Mol Biol. 2004 Jul 23;340(5):1197-206.

Pairwise interactions of the six human MCM protein subunits.

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Department of Biochemistry, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Clear Water Bay, Kowloon, Hong Kong, People's Republic of China.


The eukaryotic minichromosome maintenance (MCM) proteins have six subunits, Mcm2 to 7p. Together they play essential roles in the initiation and elongation of DNA replication, and the human MCM proteins present attractive targets for potential anticancer drugs. The six MCM subunits interact and form a ring-shaped heterohexameric complex containing one of each subunit in a variety of eukaryotes, and subcomplexes have also been observed. However, the architecture of the human MCM heterohexameric complex is still unknown. We systematically studied pairwise interactions of individual human MCM subunits by using the yeast two-hybrid system and in vivo protein-protein crosslinking with a non-cleavable crosslinker in human cells followed by co-immunoprecipitation. In the yeast two-hybrid assays, we revealed multiple binary interactions among the six human MCM proteins, and a subset of these interactions was also detected as direct interactions in human cells. Based on our results, we propose a model for the architecture of the human MCM protein heterohexameric complex. We also propose models for the structures of subcomplexes. Thus, this study may serve as a foundation for understanding the overall architecture and function of eukaryotic MCM protein complexes and as clues for developing anticancer drugs targeted to the human MCM proteins.

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