Structural Basis of DNA Replication Origin Recognition by an ORC Protein

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Science  31 Aug 2007:
Vol. 317, Issue 5842, pp. 1213-1216
DOI: 10.1126/science.1143664

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DNA replication in archaea and in eukaryotes share many similarities. We report the structure of an archaeal origin recognition complex protein, ORC1, bound to an origin recognition box, a DNA sequence that is found in multiple copies at replication origins. DNA binding is mediated principally by a C-terminal winged helix domain that inserts deeply into the major and minor grooves, widening them both. However, additionalDNA contacts are made with the N-terminalAAA+ domain, which inserts into the minor groove at a characteristic G-rich sequence, inducing a 35° bend in the duplex and providing directionality to the binding site. Both contact regions also induce substantial unwinding of the DNA. The structure provides insight into the initial step in assembly of a replication origin and recruitment of minichromosome maintenance (MCM) helicase to that origin.

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