How the eukaryotic replicative DNA helicase is loaded and activated


  • Dr John Diffley

    The Francis Crick Institute

Project summary

We each synthesise roughly 500 million km of DNA every day – more than the distance from the earth to the sun and back. Despite this scale, and the large number of tumour suppressor genes and potential oncogenes in our genomes, two-thirds of the UK population will live cancer-free lives. Thus, DNA replication and the quality control mechanisms associated with it are remarkably efficient. Dr Diffley is investigating how the minichromosome maintenance helicase is loaded onto replication origins and subsequently activated no more than once per cell cycle. Gaining a detailed understanding of how DNA replication initiates will help us to understand how high-fidelity DNA replication is ensured in normal cells, and is a prerequisite for understanding and exploiting the subversion of this process to potentially treat cancer.