Journal Article

High-temperature single-molecule kinetic analysis of thermophilic archaeal MCM helicases

Kelly M. Schermerhorn, Nathan Tanner, Zvi Kelman and Andrew F. Gardner

in Nucleic Acids Research

Volume 44, issue 18, pages 8764-8771
Published in print October 2016 | ISSN: 0305-1048
Published online July 2016 | e-ISSN: 1362-4962 | DOI:

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  • Enzymology
  • Molecular Biology and Genetics
  • Proteins


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The minichromosome maintenance (MCM) complex is the replicative helicase responsible for unwinding DNA during archaeal and eukaryal genome replication. To mimic long helicase events in the cell, a high-temperature single-molecule assay was designed to quantitatively measure long-range DNA unwinding of individual DNA helicases from the archaeons Methanothermobacter thermautotrophicus (Mth) and Thermococcus sp. 9°N (9°N). Mth encodes a single MCM homolog while 9°N encodes three helicases. 9°N MCM3, the proposed replicative helicase, unwinds DNA at a faster rate compared to 9°N MCM2 and to Mth MCM. However, all three MCM proteins have similar processivities. The implications of these observations for DNA replication in archaea and the differences and similarities among helicases from different microorganisms are discussed. Development of the high-temperature single-molecule assay establishes a system to comprehensively study thermophilic replisomes and evolutionary links between archaeal, eukaryal, and bacterial replication systems.

Journal Article.  5625 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Enzymology ; Molecular Biology and Genetics ; Proteins

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