Date: 07 Jul 2012

The Origin Recognition Complex: A Biochemical and Structural View

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Abstract

The origin recognition complex (ORC) was first discovered in the baker’s yeast in 1992. Identification of ORC opened up a path for subsequent molecular level investigations on how eukaryotic cells initiate and control genome duplication each cell cycle. Twenty years after the first biochemical isolation, ORC is now taking on a three-dimensional shape, although a very blurry shape at the moment, thanks to the recent electron microscopy and image reconstruction efforts. In this chapter, we outline the current biochemical knowledge about ORC from several eukaryotic systems, with emphasis on the most recent structural and biochemical studies. Despite many species-specific properties, an emerging consensus is that ORC is an ATP-dependent machine that recruits other key proteins to form pre-replicative complexes (pre-RCs) at many origins of DNA replication, enabling the subsequent initiation of DNA replication in S phase.