Some of the material in is restricted to members of the community. By logging in, you may be able to gain additional access to certain collections or items. If you have questions about access or logging in, please use the form on the Contact Page.
Origin DNA melting is an essential process in the various domains of life. The replication fork helicase unwinds DNA ahead of the replication fork, providing single-stranded DNA templates for the replicative polymerases. The replication fork helicase is a ring shaped-assembly that unwinds DNA by a steric exclusion mechanism in most DNA replication systems. While one strand of DNA passes through the central channel of the helicase ring, the second DNA strand is excluded from the central channel. Thus, the origin, or initiation site for DNA replication, must melt during the initiation of DNA replication to allow for the helicase to surround a single-DNA strand. While this process is largely understood for bacteria and eukaryotic viruses, less is known about how origin DNA is melted at eukaryotic cellular origins. This review describes the current state of knowledge of how genomic DNA is melted at a replication origin in bacteria and eukaryotes. We propose that although the process of origin melting is essential for the various domains of life, the mechanism for origin melting may be quite different among the different DNA replication initiation systems.