Three multi-subunit DNA polymerase enzymes lie at the heart of the chromosome replication machinery in the eukaryotic cell nucleus. Through a combination of genetic, molecular biological and biochemical analysis, significant advances have been made in understanding the essential roles played by each of these enzymes at the replication fork. Until very recently, however, little information was available on their three-dimensional structures. Lately, a series of crystallographic and electron microscopic studies has been published, allowing the structures of the complexes and their constituent subunits to be visualised in detail for the first time. Taken together, these studies provide significant insights into the molecular makeup of the replication machinery in eukaryotic cells and highlight a number of key areas for future investigation.
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