The initiation step is a key process to regulate the frequency of DNA replication. Although recent studies in Archaea defined the origin of DNA replication (oriC) and the Cdc6/Orc1 homolog as an origin recognition protein, the location and mechanism of duplex opening have remained unclear. We have found that Cdc6/Orc1 binds to oriC and unwinds duplex DNA in the hyperthermophilic archaeon Pyrococcus furiosus, by means of a P1 endonuclease assay. A primer extension analysis further revealed that this localized unwinding occurs in the oriC region at a specific site, which is 12-bp long and rich in adenine and thymine. This site is different from the predicted duplex unwinding element (DUE) that we reported previously. We also discovered that Cdc6/Orc1 induces topological changes in supercoiled oriC DNA, and that this process is dependent on the AAA+ domain. These results indicate that topological alterations of oriC DNA by Cdc6/Orc1 introduce a single-stranded region at the 12-mer site, that could possibly serve as an entry point for Mcm helicase.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Medicine