Structural and enzymological characterization of immunoaffinity-purified DNA polymerase alpha.DNA primase complex from KB cells.

Abstract:

We describe the polypeptide structure and some of the catalytic properties of a DNA polymerase alpha.DNA primase complex that can be prepared from KB cells by immunoaffinity purification. The procedure is based on monoclonal antibodies that were raised against a biochemically purified, catalytically active core protomer of the polymerase. In all respects tested, the basic mechanism of substrate recognition and binding by the immunoaffinity-purified polymerase is qualitatively identical to that of the core protomer. The immunoaffinity-purified KB cell polymerase alpha X DNA primase is structurally complex. On the basis of extensive immunochemical analyses with five independent monoclonal antibodies, three of which are potent neutralizers of polymerase alpha activity, peptide mapping studies, and the application of a sensitive immunoassay that permits detection of polymerase alpha antigens in crude cell lysates, we have established that the principal form of catalytically active DNA polymerase alpha in KB cells is a phosphoprotein with a molecular mass of 180 kilodaltons. This protein is stable in vivo, with an estimated half-life of greater than or equal to 15 h. In contrast, the polypeptide is extremely fragile in vitro and generates partial degradation products of p165, p140, and p125 that explain the "microheterogeneity" typically exhibited by polymerase alpha peptides in denaturing polyacrylamide gels. In addition to the catalytically active polymerase alpha polypeptide(s), the immunopurified enzyme fraction typically contains three other proteins, p77, p55, and p49, the functions of which have not yet been established. These proteins do not display polymerase alpha epitopes and have been shown by peptide mapping to be independent species that are unrelated either to the large polymerase peptides or to one another. The polypeptide p77 is also a phosphoprotein, and in both p180 and p77 the phosphorylated amino acids are exclusively serine and threonine.

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