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Rapid progress of DNA replication studies in Archaea, the third domain of life

DOI: 10.1007/s11427-012-4324-9

Keywords: Archaea,DNA replication,DNA polymerase,replication fork,replisome,hyperthermophile

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Archaea, the third domain of life, are interesting organisms to study from the aspects of molecular and evolutionary biology. Archaeal cells have a unicellular ultrastructure without a nucleus, resembling bacterial cells, but the proteins involved in genetic information processing pathways, including DNA replication, transcription, and translation, share strong similarities with those of Eukaryota. Therefore, archaea provide useful model systems to understand the more complex mechanisms of genetic information processing in eukaryotic cells. Moreover, the hyperthermophilic archaea provide very stable proteins, which are especially useful for the isolation of replisomal multicomplexes, to analyze their structures and functions. This review focuses on the history, current status, and future directions of archaeal DNA replication studies.


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