Hel308 is an SF2 (superfamily 2) helicase with clear homologues in metazoans and archaea, but not in fungi or bacteria. Evidence from biochemistry and genetics implicates Hel308 in remodelling compromised replication forks. In the last 4 years, significant advances have been made in understanding the biochemistry of archaeal Hel308, most recently through atomic structures from cren- and eury-archaea. These are good templates for SF2 helicase function more generally, highlighting co-ordinated actions of accessory domains around RecA folds. We review the emerging molecular biology of Hel308, drawing together ideas of how it may contribute to genome stability through the control of recombination, with reference to paradigms developed in bacteria.

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