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Biochem J. 2010 Jan 15;425(3):489-500. doi: 10.1042/BJ20091531.

Structure and function of the GINS complex, a key component of the eukaryotic replisome.

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  • 1Biomedical Sciences Research Complex, School of Biology, University of St Andrews, North Haugh, St Andrews, Fife KY16 9ST, UK.


High-fidelity chromosomal DNA replication is fundamental to all forms of cellular life and requires the complex interplay of a wide variety of essential and non-essential protein factors in a spatially and temporally co-ordinated manner. In eukaryotes, the GINS complex (from the Japanese go-ichi-ni-san meaning 5-1-2-3, after the four related subunits of the complex Sld5, Psf1, Psf2 and Psf3) was recently identified as a novel factor essential for both the initiation and elongation stages of the replication process. Biochemical analysis has placed GINS at the heart of the eukaryotic replication apparatus as a component of the CMG [Cdc45-MCM (minichromosome maintenance) helicase-GINS] complex that most likely serves as the replicative helicase, unwinding duplex DNA ahead of the moving replication fork. GINS homologues are found in the archaea and have been shown to interact directly with the MCM helicase and with primase, suggesting a central role for the complex in archaeal chromosome replication also. The present review summarizes current knowledge of the structure, function and evolution of the GINS complex in eukaryotes and archaea, discusses possible functions of the GINS complex and highlights recent results that point to possible regulation of GINS function in response to DNA damage.

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