DNA replication licensing

Front Biosci. 2004 Sep 1;9:2115-32. doi: 10.2741/1315.


The DNA replication licensing system ensures that chromosomal DNA is replicated precisely once before cell division occurs. A DNA helicase must be loaded on origin DNA for replication to initiate. Considerable evidence suggests that the MCM complex acts as a replicative helicase in eukaryotes. When the MCM complex is loaded on the chromatin, the replication origin is formally defined as being licensed for replication. Licensing takes place several hours before origins are activated to undergo replication in S-phase. Genetic and biochemical studies show that the licensing process is well conserved in eukaryotes. Cyclin Dependent Kinases (CDKs), the master regulators of the cell cycle, coordinate the initiation of the two key cell cycle events, replication of DNA and its segregation at mitosis. Eukaryotes have developed complex regulatory mechanisms to ensure that origin licensing is coordinated with these events so that genome integrity is preserved during successive cell divisions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Archaea / metabolism
  • Archaeal Proteins / chemistry
  • Archaeal Proteins / metabolism
  • Cell Cycle
  • Cell Cycle Proteins / metabolism
  • Cell Cycle Proteins / pharmacology
  • Cell Division
  • Chromatin / metabolism
  • Cyclin-Dependent Kinases / metabolism
  • DNA / metabolism
  • DNA Helicases / metabolism
  • DNA Replication*
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / metabolism
  • Escherichia coli / metabolism
  • Geminin
  • Gene Expression Regulation*
  • Genome
  • Humans
  • Mitosis
  • Replication Origin
  • S Phase
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / metabolism
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae Proteins / metabolism
  • Schizosaccharomyces pombe Proteins / metabolism
  • Xenopus


  • Archaeal Proteins
  • CDC6 protein, S cerevisiae
  • Cell Cycle Proteins
  • Chromatin
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • GMNN protein, human
  • Geminin
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae Proteins
  • Schizosaccharomyces pombe Proteins
  • TAH11 protein, S cerevisiae
  • cdc18 protein, S pombe
  • DNA
  • Cyclin-Dependent Kinases
  • DNA Helicases