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Crit Rev Biochem Mol Biol. 2008 May-Jun;43(3):163-87. doi: 10.1080/10409230802058296 .

AAA+ ATPases in the initiation of DNA replication.

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Department Molecular and Cell Biology and Biophysics Graduate Group, California Institute for Quantitative Biology, University of California, Berkeley, California 94720-3220, USA.


All cellular organisms and many viruses rely on large, multi-subunit molecular machines, termed replisomes, to ensure that genetic material is accurately duplicated for transmission from one generation to the next. Replisome assembly is facilitated by dedicated initiator proteins, which serve to both recognize replication origins and recruit requisite replisomal components to the DNA in a cell-cycle coordinated manner. Exactly how imitators accomplish this task, and the extent to which initiator mechanisms are conserved among different organisms have remained outstanding issues. Recent structural and biochemical findings have revealed that all cellular initiators, as well as the initiators of certain classes of double-stranded DNA viruses, possess a common adenine nucleotide-binding fold belonging to the ATPases Associated with various cellular Activities (AAA+) family. This review focuses on how the AAA+ domain has been recruited and adapted to control the initiation of DNA replication, and how the use of this ATPase module underlies a common set of initiator assembly states and functions. How biochemical and structural properties correlate with initiator activity, and how species-specific modifications give rise to unique initiator functions, are also discussed.

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