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Eukaryotic Dna Replication

Eukaryotic Dna Replication

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Published by: Rohit on Dec 01, 2009
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Eukaryotic Dna replicationIn eukaryotes, the process of DNA replication is the same as that of the bacterial/prokaryoticDNA replication with some minor modifications. In eukaryotes, the DNA molecules are larger than in prokaryotes and are not circular; there are also usually multiple sites for the initiation of replication.DNA replication is initiated before the end of the cell cycle. Eukaryotic cells can only initiateDNA replication at a specific point in the cell cycle, the beginning of S phase.DNA replication in eukaryotes occurs only in the S phase of thecell cycle. However, pre-initiation occurs in theG1 phase. Due to the sheer size of chromosomes in eukaryotes,eukaryotic chromosomes contain multipleorigins of replication. Thus, each eukaryotic chromosome is composed of many replicating units or replicons stretchesof DNA with a single origin of replication. In comparison, the E. coli chromosome forms only asingle replication fork. In eukaryotes, these replicating forks, which are numerous all along theDNA, form "bubbles" in the DNA during replication. The replication fork forms at a specific point called autonomously replicating sequences (ARS).The ARS contains a somewhatdegenerate 11-bp sequences called the origin replication element (ORE). The ORE is locatedadjacent to an 80-bp AT rich sequence that is easy to unwind.The first step in DNA replication is the formation of the pre-initiation replication complex (the pre-RC). The formation of this complex occurs in two stages. The first stage requires that there isnoCDK activity. This can only occur in early G1. The formation of the pre-RC is known aslicensing, but a licensed pre-RC cannot initiate replication. Initiation of replication can onlyoccur during the S-phase. Thus, the separation of licensing and activation ensures that the origincan only fire once per cell cycle.In yeast, ORE is called as DUE (DNA unwinding element). Multiple origins allow eukaryotes toreplicate their larger quantities' of DNA in a relatively short time, even though eukaryotic DNAreplication is considerably slowed by the presence of histone proteins associated with the DNAto form chromatin.DNA replication in eukaryotes is not very well characterized. However, researchers believe thatit begins with the binding of the origin recognition complex (ORC) to the origin. This complex is
a hexamer of related proteins and remains bound to the origin, even after DNA replicationoccurs. Furthermore, ORC is the functional analogue of DnaA. Following the binding of ORC tothe origin, Cdc6/Cdc18 and Cdt1 coordinate the loading of the MCM (minichromosomemaintenance functions) complex to the origin by first binding to ORC and then binding to theMCM complex. The MCM complex is thought to be the major DNA helicase in eukaryoticorganisms, and is a hexamer (mcm2-7). Once binding of MCM occurs, a fully licensed pre-RCexists.Activation of the complex occurs in S-phase and requires Cdk2-Cyclin E and Ddk. Theactivation process begins with the addition of Mcm10 to the pre-RC, which displaces Cdt1.Following this, Ddk phosphorylates Mcm3-7, which activates the helicase. It is believed thatORC and Cdc6/18 are phosphorylated by Cdk2-Cyclin E. Ddk and the Cdk complex thenrecruits another protein called Cdc45, which then recruits all of the DNA replication proteins tothe replication fork. At this stage the origin fires and DNA synthesis begins.Activation of a new round of replication is prevented through the actions of the cyclin dependentkinases and a protein known asgeminin. Geminin binds to Cdt1 and sequesters it. It is a periodic protein that first appears in S-phase and is degraded in late M-phase, possibly through the actionof the anaphase promoting complex (APC). In addition, phosphorylation of Cdc6/18 prevent itfrom binding to the ORC (thus inhibiting loading of the MCM complex) while the phosphorylation of ORC remains unclear. Cells in the G0 stage of the cell cycle are preventedfrom initiating a round of replication because the Mcm proteins are not expressed. Numerous polymerases can replicate DNA in eukaryotic cells. Currently, six families of  polymerases (A, B, C, D, X, Y) have been discovered. At least four different types of DNA polymerases are involved in the replication of DNA in animal cells (POLA, POLG, POLD1 andPOLE). POL1 functions by extending the primer in the 5' -> 3' direction and tightly associateswith primase. However, it lacks the ability to proofread DNA. POLD1 has a proofreading abilityand is able to replicate the entire length of a template only when associated with PCNA. POLE isable to replicate the entire length of a template in the absence of PCNA and is able to proofreadDNA while POLG replicates mitochondrial DNA via theD-Loop mechanism of DNAreplication.All primers are removed by RNaseH1 and Flap Endonuclease I. The generalmechanisms of DNA replication on the leading and lagging strand, however, are the same as tothose found in prokaryotic cells.
Eukaryotes have clamp loader complex, similar to β subunit of pol of prokaryotes, and a six-unitclamp called the proliferating cell nuclear antigen. The RNA primers are removed duringOkazaki fragment completion by mechanisms similar to those in Prokaryotes. In eukaryotes,RNase enzymes remove the RNA primers in okazaki fragments; a repair polymerase fills gapsand a DNA ligase forms the final seal.Helicases, topoisomerase and single strand binding proteins play roles similar to that in prokaryotes. All the enzymatic processes are generally the same in prokaryotes and eukaryotes.DNA replication developed in prokaryotes, and was refined as prokaryotes evolved intoeukaryotes. The completion of the replication of linear eukaryotic chromosome involves theformation of specialized structures at the tips of chromosomes.Termination of replication in eukaryotes is different from that of prokaryotes. Eukaryotes havelinear chromosome, and once the first primer is removed from the strand, there is no known wayto fill in the gap, since DNA cannot be extended in the 3' -5 ' direction and there is no 3 ' endupstream as there would be in a circle. If this were actually the situation, the DNA strands wouldget shorter every time they replicated and genes would be lost forever To avoid this condition, the cell has devised a system. The ends of chromosomes do not havegenes and instead, they are composed of many repeats of short, GC rich sequences. The exactsequence of the repeat in a telomere is species-specific.These repeats are added to the 3' end of DNA, not by Semiconservative replication, but by anenzyme called telomerase. This enzyme has small RNA of 159-200 bp length which act astemplate. The telomerase adds many repeated copies of its characteristic sequence to the 3' endsof chromosomePriming for synthesis of the opposite strand can then occur within these telomeres. Interestingly,somatic cells lack telomerase while the germ cell retains the enzyme. Clearly, a picture of the"replication apparatus" of eukaryotic organisms is beginning to emerge, but still there are manythings which need to be explored
The Enzymes
: It is now clear that eukaryotic cells have mnor ethan a dozen DNA polymerases.Two of these (α and
) are important for the replication of eukaryotic chromosomes. The rate of synthesis of DNA in eukaryotic cells is only 50 nt/s - about one tenth the rate of bacterial DNAsynthesis.

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