Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

DNA replication

Strand separation unravelled

The DNA double helix must be separated into single strands to be duplicated. A structure of the Mcm2–7 helicase enzyme responsible for this activity yields unprecedented insight into how the process is initiated. See Article p.186

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution

Access options

Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.


All prices are NET prices.

Figure 1: Structure of a strand separator.


  1. See all news & views


  1. Enemark, E. J. & Joshua-Tor, L. Curr. Opin. Struct. Biol. 18, 243–257 (2008).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  2. Li, N et al. Nature 524, 186–191 (2015).

    ADS  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  3. Kühlbrandt, W. eLife 3, e03678 (2014).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  4. Sun, J. et al. Genes Dev. 28, 2291–2303 (2014).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  5. Bochman, M. L. & Schwacha, A. Microbiol. Mol. Biol. Rev. 73, 652–683 (2009).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  6. Ilves, I., Petojevic, T., Pesavento, J. J. & Botchan, M. R. Mol. Cell 37, 247–258 (2010).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  7. Fu, Y. V. et al. Cell 146, 931–941 (2011).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  8. Evrin, C. et al. Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. USA 106, 20240–20245 (2009).

    ADS  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  9. Remus, D. et al. Cell 139, 719–730 (2009).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  10. Gai, D., Chang, Y. P. & Chen, X. S. Curr. Opin. Struct. Biol. 20, 756–762 (2010).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  11. Shin, J., Lee, O.-C. & Sung, W. J. Chem. Phys. 142, 155101 (2015).

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  12. Tang, G.-Q. & Patel, S. S. Biochemistry 45, 4936–4946 (2006).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  13. Kaplan, D. L. & O'Donnell, M. Mol. Cell 15, 453–465 (2004).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  14. Schuck, S. & Stenlund, A. Mol. Cell 43, 776–787 (2011).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  15. Wessel, R., Schweizer, J. & Stahl, H. J. Virol. 66, 804–815 (1992).

    CAS  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  16. Ticau, S., Friedman, L. J., Ivica, N. A., Gelles, J. & Bell, S. P. Cell 161, 513–525 (2015).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding authors

Correspondence to Matthew L. Bochman or Anthony Schwacha.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Bochman, M., Schwacha, A. Strand separation unravelled. Nature 524, 166–167 (2015).

Download citation

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:


Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing