Author(s): Chuang RY, Kelly TJ
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Abstract The origin recognition complex (ORC) was originally identified in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae as a protein that specifically binds to origins of DNA replication. Although ORC appears to play an essential role in the initiation of DNA replication in the cells of all eukaryotes, its interactions with DNA have not been defined in species other than budding yeast. We have characterized a Schizosaccharomyces pombe homologue of the ORC subunit, Orc4p. The homologue (Orp4p) consists of two distinct functional domains. The C-terminal domain shows strong sequence similarity to human, frog, and yeast Orc4 proteins, including conserved ATP-binding motifs. The N-terminal domain contains nine copies of the AT-hook motif found in a number of DNA-binding proteins, including the members of the HMG-I(Y) family of chromatin proteins. AT-hook motifs are known from biochemical and structural studies to mediate binding to the minor groove of AT-tracts in DNA. Orp4p is essential for viability of Sc. pombe and is expressed throughout the cell cycle. The Orp4 protein (and its isolated N-terminal domain) binds to the Sc. pombe replication origin, ars1. The DNA binding properties of Orp4p provide a plausible explanation for the characteristic features of Sc. pombe origins of replication, which differ significantly from those of Sa. cerevisiae.
This article was published in Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A
and referenced in Journal of Cell Science & Therapy