Genome sequences of a number of archaea have revealed an apparent paradox in the phylogenies of the bacteria, archaea, and eukarya, as well as an intriguing set of problems to be resolved in the study of DNA replication. The archaea, long thought to be bacteria, are not only different enough to merit their own domain but also appear to be an interesting mosaic of bacterial, eukaryal, and unique features. Most archaeal proteins participating in DNA replication are more similar in sequence to those found in eukarya than to analogous replication proteins in bacteria. However, archaea have only a subset of the eukaryal replication machinery, apparently needing fewer polypeptides and structurally simpler complexes. The archaeal replication apparatus also contains features not found in other organisms owing, in part, to the broad range of environmental conditions, some extreme, in which members of this domain thrive. In this review the current knowledge of the mechanisms governing DNA replication in archaea is summarized and the similarities and differences of those of bacteria and eukarya are highlighted.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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