DNA Replication

J. A. Hejna, R. E. Moses

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

1 Scopus citations


DNA replication in Escherichia coli is a tightly regulated, multienzyme process that ensures that as cells divide, each new cell receives an exact copy of the genetic blueprint. There are regulatory mechanisms that prevent premature rounds of DNA synthesis before the entire chromosome has been replicated. The E. coli chromosome is circular, and replication is bidirectional, meaning two replication forks start at a defined location, oriC, proceed around the chromosome in opposite directions, and meet at a specific region called the terminus. The primary replicative polymerase is Pol III, an asymmetric complex that synthesizes DNA in the 5, → 3' direction, and requires a primer, which is synthesized by primase. Pol III synthesizes continuously on the leading strand template and discontinuously on the lagging strand template. The nascent, lagging strand fragments are joined together by Pol I and DNA ligase. Finally, a regulatory mechanism is in place to terminate replication as the two replication forks meet, roughly half way around the chromosome, and to do so without skipping or duplicating any genetic information. Structural analysis of the many proteins involved in DNA replication has provided many details of how this complicated process occurs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationEncyclopedia of Microbiology
PublisherElsevier Inc.
Number of pages10
ISBN (Print)9780123739445
StatePublished - Jan 1 2009


  • AAA+proteins
  • DNA
  • DNA polymerase III
  • DnaA
  • DnaB
  • DnaC
  • Elongation
  • Macroinitiation
  • Microinitiation
  • Okazaki fragment
  • Polymerase I
  • Primase
  • Termination
  • β sliding clamp
  • γ complex

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)


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