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J Microbiol. 2014 Feb;52(2):89-98. doi: 10.1007/s12275-014-3524-3. Epub 2014 Feb 1.

To peep into Pif1 helicase: multifaceted all the way from genome stability to repair-associated DNA synthesis.

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College of Pharmacy, Duksung Women's University, Seoul, 132-714, Republic of Korea,


Pif1 DNA helicase is the prototypical member of a 5' to 3' helicase superfamily conserved from bacteria to humans. In Saccharomyces cerevisiae, Pif1 and its homologue Rrm3, localize in both mitochondria and nucleus playing multiple roles in the maintenance of genomic homeostasis. They display relatively weak processivities in vitro, but have largely non-overlapping functions on common genomic loci such as mitochondrial DNA, telomeric ends, and many replication forks especially at hard-to-replicate regions including ribosomal DNA and G-quadruplex structures. Recently, emerging evidence shows that Pif1, but not Rrm3, has a significant new role in repair-associated DNA synthesis with PolĪ“ during homologous recombination stimulating D-loop migration for conservative DNA replication. Comparative genetic and biochemical studies on the structure and function of Pif1 family helicases across different biological systems are further needed to elucidate both diversity and specificity of their mechanisms of action that contribute to genome stability.

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