Variation of DNA polymerase activities and DNA synthesis in mouse mammary gland during pregnancy and early lactation.


The rate of DNA synthesis and the activity of DNA polymerases and thymidine kinase were measured during the endocrine-regulated cellular growth and differentiation of mouse mammary gland. Using specific assays, the activity of the DNA polymerases, alpha, beta and gamma, was determined in tissue extracts of mammary glands of mice at various stages of pregnancy and early lactation. In addition, extracts of the mammary tissue of virgin, mid-pregnant and early lactating mice were fractionated on sucrose density gradients, and the activity of DNA polymerase alpha and beta was assayed in the gradient fractions. It was demonstrated that the activity of DNA polymerase alpha varied considerably during pregnancy and after parturition, showing peaks on day 12 of pregnancy and days 3-4 of lactation. In pregnancy, there was an apparently parallel correlation between the amount of DNA-polymerase-alpha activity and the rate at which the cells incorporated labelled thymidine into DNA, but the relationship was less clearly expressed during early lactation. The activity of the DNA polymerases, beta and gamma, as well as that of thymidine kinase showed little variation during these periods. Thus, in the developing mammary gland, no correlation was found between DNA synthesis and the activity of the DNA polymerases, beta and gamma, or thymidine kinase.




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