Background The replication of DNA in Archaea and eukaryotes requires several ancillary complexes, including proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA), replication factor C (RFC), and the minichromosome maintenance (MCM) complex. Bacterial DNA replication utilizes comparable proteins, but these are distantly related phylogenetically to their archaeal and eukaryotic counterparts at best. Methodology/Principal Findings While the structures of each of the complexes do not differ significantly between the archaeal and eukaryotic versions thereof, the evolutionary dynamic in the two cases does. The number of subunits in each complex is constant across all taxa. However, they vary subtly with regard to composition. In some taxa the subunits are all identical in sequence, while in others some are homologous rather than identical. In the case of eukaryotes, there is no phylogenetic variation in the makeup of each complex-all appear to derive from a common eukaryotic ancestor. This is not the case in Archaea, where the relationship between the subunits within each complex varies taxon-to-taxon. We have performed a detailed phylogenetic analysis of these relationships in order to better understand the gene duplications and divergences that gave rise to the homologous subunits in Archaea. Conclusion/Significance This domain level difference in evolution suggests that different forces have driven the evolution of DNA replication proteins in each of these two domains. In addition, the phylogenies of all three gene families support the distinctiveness of the proposed archaeal phylum Thaumarchaeota.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)