PROSITE documentation PDOC00662
MCM family signature and profile


Proteins shown to be required for the initiation of eukaryotic DNA replication share a highly conserved domain of about 210 amino-acid residues [1,2,3]. The latter shows some similarities [4] with that of various other families of DNA-dependent ATPases. Eukaryotes seem to possess a family of six proteins that contain this domain. They were first identified in yeast where most of them have a direct role in the initiation of chromosomal DNA replication by interacting directly with autonomously replicating sequences (ARS). They were thus called 'minichromosome maintenance proteins' with gene symbols prefixed by MCM. These six proteins are:

  • MCM2, also known as cdc19 (in S.pombe) [E1].
  • MCM3, also known as DNA polymerase α holoenzyme-associated protein P1, RLF β subunit or ROA.
  • MCM4, also known as CDC54, cdc21 (in S.pombe) or dpa (in Drosophila).
  • MCM5, also known as CDC46 or nda4 (in S.pombe).
  • MCM6, also known as mis5 (in S.pombe).
  • MCM7, also known as CDC47 or Prolifera (in A.thaliana).

This family is also present in archebacteria. In Methanococcus jannaschii there are four members: MJ0363, MJ0961, MJ1489 and MJECL13.

The presence of a putative ATP-binding domain implies that these proteins may be involved in an ATP-consuming step in the initiation of DNA replication in eukaryotes.

As a signature pattern, we selected a perfectly conserved region that represents a special version of the B motif found in ATP-binding proteins.

Expert(s) to contact by email:

Koonin E.V.

Last update:

November 1997 / Pattern and text revised; profile added.


Technical section

PROSITE methods (with tools and information) covered by this documentation:

MCM_2, PS50051; MCM family domain profile  (MATRIX)

MCM_1, PS00847; MCM family signature  (PATTERN)


1AuthorsCoxon A. Maundrell K. Kearsey S.E.
TitleFission yeast cdc21+ belongs to a family of proteins involved in an early step of chromosome replication.
SourceNucleic Acids Res. 20:5571-5577(1992).
PubMed ID1454522

2AuthorsHu B. Burkhart R. Schulte D. Musahl C. Knippers R.
TitleThe P1 family: a new class of nuclear mammalian proteins related to the yeast Mcm replication proteins.
SourceNucleic Acids Res. 21:5289-5293(1993).
PubMed ID8265339

3TitleTye B.-K. The MCM2-3-5 proteins: are they replication licensing factors?
SourceTrends Cell Biol. 4:160-166(1994).
PubMed ID14731643

4AuthorsKoonin E.V.
TitleA common set of conserved motifs in a vast variety of putative nucleic acid-dependent ATPases including MCM proteins involved in the initiation of eukaryotic DNA replication.
SourceNucleic Acids Res. 21:2541-2547(1993).
PubMed ID8332451


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