Little is known about the DNA helicases required for the elongation phase of eukaryotic chromosome replication. Minichromosone maintenance (MCM) protein complexes have DNA helicase activity but have only been functionally implicated in initiating DNA replication. Using an improved method for constructing conditional degron mutants, we show that depletion of MCMs after initiation irreversibly blocks the progression of replication forks in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Like the Escherichia coli dnaB and SV40 T antigen helicases, therefore, the MCM complex is loaded at origins before initiation and is essential for elongation. Restricting MCM Loading to the G(1) phase ensures that initiation and elongation occur just once per cell cycle.
- HELICASE ACTIVITY