How and why multiple MCMs are loaded at origins of DNA replication

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Recent work suggests that DNA replication origins are regulated by the number of multiple mini-chromosome maintenance (MCM) complexes loaded. Origins are defined by the loading of MCM – the replicative helicase which initiates DNA replication and replication kinetics determined by origin's location and firing times. However, activation of MCM is heterogeneous; different origins firing at different times in different cells. Also, more MCMs are loaded in G1 than are used in S phase. These aspects of MCM biology are explained by the observation that multiple MCMs are loaded at origins. Having more MCMs at early origins makes them more likely to fire, effecting differences in origin efficiency that define replication timing. Nonetheless, multiple MCM loading raises new questions, such as how they are loaded, where these MCMs reside at origins, and how their presence affects replication timing. In this review, we address these questions and discuss future avenues of research.

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