DNA-dependent DNA polymerase species in male germ cells of the mouse.

Abstract:

Quasi-homogeneous fractions of male mouse germ cells at definite stages of meiosis and spermiogenesis were obtained by using a separation method based on sedimentation velocity in an albumin gradient. In the various cell types, the total DNA-dependent DNA polymerase activity was determined, and the major enzymatic forms were characterized. The DNA polymerase species present in premeiotic, meiotic and post-meiotic cells were analyzed by glycerol gradient sedimentation. Two types of DNA polymerase were identified in fractions enriched in spermatogonia and preleptotene spermatocytes. One showed a sedimentation coefficient of about 7.5 S and was sensitive to N-ethylmaleimide (NEM); the other exhibited a sedimentation coefficient between 3 and 4 S and was resistant to NEM. On the basis of their sedimentation coefficients, their sensitivity to NEM and their template specificities, these 2 enzymes were identified respectively as alpha and beta DNA polymerases as reported in mammals. The gradient analysis performed on fractions enriched in meiotic and post-meiotic cells revealed the presence of DNA polymerase beta only. A quantitative analysis showed that the activity of the DNA polymerase beta reaches a maximum at middle-late pachytene stage and then drops gradually during spermiogenesis. Although any conclusion as to the biological role of this high level of DNA polymerase activity in pachytene spermatocytes is premature, it is tempting to suggest that this enzyme is involved in meiotic recombination.

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