The protein Cdc45 plays a critical but poorly understood role in the initiation and elongation stages of eukaryotic DNA replication. To study Cdc45's function in DNA replication, we purified Cdc45 protein from Drosophila embryo extracts by a combination of traditional and immunoaffinity chromatography steps and found that the protein exists in a stable, high-molecular-weight complex with the Mcm2-7 hexamer and the GINS tetramer. The purified Cdc45/Mcm2-7/GINS complex is associated with an active ATP-dependent DNA helicase function. RNA interference knock-down experiments targeting the GINS and Cdc45 components establish that the proteins are required for the S phase transition in Drosophila cells. The data suggest that this complex forms the core helicase machinery for eukaryotic DNA replication.