Methanococcus maripaludis: an archaeon with multiple functional MCM proteins?

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There are a large number of proteins involved in the control of eukaryotic DNA replication, which act together to ensure DNA is replicated only once every cell cycle. Key proteins involved in the initiation and elongation phases of DNA replication include the MCM (minchromosome maintenance) proteins, MCM2-MCM7, a family of six related proteins believed to act as the replicative helicase. Genome sequencing has revealed that the archaea possess a simplified set of eukaryotic replication homologues. The complexity of the DNA replication machinery in eukaryotes has led to a number of archaeal species being adapted as model organisms for the study of the DNA replication process. Most archaea sequenced to date possess a single MCM homologue that forms a hexameric complex. Recombinant MCMs from several archaea have been used in the biochemical characterization of the protein, revealing that the MCM complex has ATPase, DNA-binding and -unwinding activities. Unusually, the genome of the methanogenic archaeon Methanococcus maripaludis contains four MCM homologues, all of which contain the conserved motifs required for function. The availability of a wide range of genetic tools for the manipulation of M. maripaludis and the relative ease of growth of this organism in the laboratory makes it a good potential model for studying the role of multiple MCMs in DNA replication.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-6
Number of pages6
JournalBiochemical Society transactions
Issue numberPt 1
Publication statusPublished - 2009


  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Archaeal Proteins
  • DNA Replication
  • Eukaryotic Cells
  • Methanococcus
  • Models, Biological
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Sequence Homology, Amino Acid

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