Although the overall picture of HCMV DNA synthesis appears typical of the herpesviruses, some novel features are emerging. Six herpesvirus-group-common genes encode proteins that likely constitute the replication fork machinery, including a two-subunit DNA polymerase, a helicas-primase complex and a single-stranded DNA-binding protein. No homolog of the herpes simplex virus origin-binding helicase is evident, but at least one additional HCMV protein of unknown function, pUL84, appears to be required for initiation. Replication initiates within or near the large and structurally complex lytic-phase replicator, ori-Lyt, near the center of UL. Recent findings suggest that ori-Lyt-mediated initiation of DNA synthesis occurs through a mechanism distinct from that employed by herpes simplex virus.