Precise replication of the eukaryotic genome is achieved primarily through strict regulation of the enzyme responsible for DNA unwinding, the replicative helicase. The motor of this helicase is a hexameric AAA+ ATPase called MCM. The loading of MCM onto DNA and its subsequent activation and disassembly are each restricted to separate cell cycle phases; this ensures that a functional replisome is only built once at any replication origin. In recent years, biochemical and structural studies have shown that distinct conformational changes in MCM, each requiring post-translational modifications and/or the activity of other replication proteins, define the various stages of the chromosome replication cycle. Here, we review recent progress in this area.
Copyright © 2016. Published by Elsevier Ltd.