Minichromosome maintenance (mcm) is an effective genetic assay for mutants defective in DNA replication. Two classes of mcm mutants have been identified using this screen: those that differentially affect the activities of certain autonomously replicating sequences (ARSs) and those that uniformly affect the activities of all ARSs. The ARS-specific MCM genes are essential for the initiation of DNA replication. Among these are members of the MCM2-7 family that encode subunits of the preinitiation complex and MCM10, whose gene product interacts with members of the Mcm2-7 proteins. Among the ARS-nonspecific MCM gene products are chromosome transmission factors. Refinement of this genetic assay as a screening tool and further analysis of existing mcm mutants may reveal new replication initiation proteins.
Copyright 1999 Academic Press.