Article

Concerted loading of Mcm2-7 double hexamers around DNA during DNA replication origin licensing.

Clare Hall Laboratories, Cancer Research UK London Research Institute, South Mimms EN6 3LD, UK.
Cell (Impact Factor: 31.96). 11/2009; 139(4):719-30. DOI: 10.1016/j.cell.2009.10.015
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The licensing of eukaryotic DNA replication origins, which ensures once-per-cell-cycle replication, involves the loading of six related minichromosome maintenance proteins (Mcm2-7) into prereplicative complexes (pre-RCs). Mcm2-7 forms the core of the replicative DNA helicase, which is inactive in the pre-RC. The loading of Mcm2-7 onto DNA requires the origin recognition complex (ORC), Cdc6, and Cdt1, and depends on ATP. We have reconstituted Mcm2-7 loading with purified budding yeast proteins. Using biochemical approaches and electron microscopy, we show that single heptamers of Cdt1*Mcm2-7 are loaded cooperatively and result in association of stable, head-to-head Mcm2-7 double hexamers connected via their N-terminal rings. DNA runs through a central channel in the double hexamer, and, once loaded, Mcm2-7 can slide passively along double-stranded DNA. Our work has significant implications for understanding how eukaryotic DNA replication origins are chosen and licensed, how replisomes assemble during initiation, and how unwinding occurs during DNA replication.

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    ABSTRACT: Loading of the six related Minichromosome Maintenance (MCM) proteins as head-to-head double hexamers during DNA replication origin licensing is crucial for ensuring once-per-cell-cycle DNA replication in eukaryotic cells. Assembly of these prereplicative complexes (pre-RCs) requires the Origin Recognition Complex (ORC), Cdc6, and Cdt1. ORC, Cdc6, and MCM are members of the AAA+ family of ATPases, and pre-RC assembly requires ATP hydrolysis. Here we show that ORC and Cdc6 mutants defective in ATP hydrolysis are competent for origin licensing. However, ATP hydrolysis by Cdc6 is required to release nonproductive licensing intermediates. We show that ATP binding stabilizes the wild-type MCM hexamer. Moreover, by analyzing MCM containing mutant subunits, we show that ATP binding and hydrolysis by MCM are required for Cdt1 release and double hexamer formation. This work alters our view of how ATP is used by licensing factors to assemble pre-RCs.
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    ABSTRACT: Numerous eukaryotic replication factors have served as chemotherapeutic targets. One replication factor that has largely escaped drug development is the Mcm2-7 replicative helicase. This heterohexameric complex forms the licensing system that assembles the replication machinery at origins during initiation, as well as the catalytic core of the CMG (Cdc45-Mcm2-7-GINS) helicase that unwinds DNA during elongation. Emerging evidence suggests that Mcm2-7 is also part of the replication checkpoint, a quality control system that monitors and responds to DNA damage. As the only replication factor required for both licensing and DNA unwinding, Mcm2-7 is a major cellular regulatory target with likely cancer relevance. Mutations in at least one of the six MCM genes are particularly prevalent in squamous cell carcinomas of the lung, head and neck, and prostrate, and MCM mutations have been shown to cause cancer in mouse models. Moreover various cellular regulatory proteins, including the Rb tumor suppressor family members, bind Mcm2-7 and inhibit its activity. As a preliminary step toward drug development, several small molecule inhibitors that target Mcm2-7 have been recently discovered. Both its structural complexity and essential role at the interface between DNA replication and its regulation make Mcm2-7 a potential chemotherapeutic target.
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