Encyclopedia of Biophysics

Living Edition
| Editors: Gordon Roberts, Anthony Watts, European Biophysical Societies

Machinery of DNA Replication

  • Nina Y. Yao
  • Michael E. O’DonnellEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-35943-9_435-1


The DNA genome must be duplicated with great precision before a cell divides in order to maintain the species. DNA replication is performed by numerous proteins that work together as a dynamic machine, referred to as a “replisome” (O’Donnell et al. 2013). The core components of replisome machines are present in cellular domains of life, Bacteria, Archaea, and Eukarya. These core replisome components are a helicase, DNA polymerases, RNA primase, the sliding clamp, and a clamp loader. The helicase of replisome machines is first assembled onto DNA at origins of replication by initiation proteins, after which the helicase couples ATP hydrolysis to unwind DNA and form replication forks, the Y-shaped DNA structure where the DNA strands are separated and duplicated (Bell and Labib 2016; O’Donnell et al. 2013). Primase associates with the helicase to generate short “RNA primers” that the DNA polymerases extend by matching complementary bases (i.e., dNTPs) to each separated...

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Copyright information

© European Biophysical Societies' Association (EBSA) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Structural and Molecular Biology ProgramThe Rockefeller UniversityNew YorkUSA
  2. 2.Howard Hughes Medical InstituteThe Rockefeller UniversityNew YorkUSA