The maintenance of the eukaryotic genome requires precisely coordinated replication of the entire genome each time a cell divides. To achieve this coordination, eukaryotic cells use an ordered series of steps to form several key protein assemblies at origins of replication. Recent studies have identified many of the protein components of these complexes and the time during the cell cycle they assemble at the origin. Interestingly, despite distinct differences in origin structure, the identity and order of assembly of eukaryotic replication factors is highly conserved across all species. This review describes our current understanding of these events and how they are coordinated with cell cycle progression. We focus on bringing together the results from different organisms to provide a coherent model of the events of initiation. We emphasize recent progress in determining the function of the different replication factors once they have been assembled at the origin.
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