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J Biol Chem. 1999 Sep 17;274(38):26647-53.

Direct interaction of proliferating cell nuclear antigen with the p125 catalytic subunit of mammalian DNA polymerase delta.

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Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, New York Medical College, Valhalla, New York 10595, USA.


The formation of a complex between DNA polymerase delta (pol delta) and its sliding clamp, proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA), is responsible for the maintenance of processive DNA synthesis at the leading strand of the replication fork. In this study, the ability of the p125 catalytic subunit of DNA polymerase delta to engage in protein-protein interactions with PCNA was established by biochemical and genetic methods. p125 and PCNA were shown to co-immunoprecipitate from either calf thymus or HeLa extracts, or when they were ectopically co-expressed in Cos 7 cells. Because pol delta is a multimeric protein, this interaction could be indirect. Thus, rigorous evidence was sought for a direct interaction of the p125 catalytic subunit and PCNA. To do this, the ability of recombinant p125 to interact with PCNA was established by biochemical means. p125 co-expressed with PCNA in Sf9 cells was shown to form a physical complex that can be detected on gel filtration and that can be cross-linked with the bifunctional cross-linking agent Sulfo-EGS (ethylene glycol bis (sulfosuccinimidylsuccinate)). An interaction between p125 and PCNA could also be demonstrated in the yeast two hybrid system. Overlay experiments using biotinylated PCNA showed that the free p125 subunit interacts with PCNA. The PCNA overlay blotting method was also used to demonstrate the binding of synthetic peptides corresponding to the N2 region of pol delta and provides evidence for a site on pol delta that is involved in the protein-protein interactions between PCNA and pol delta. This region contains a sequence that is a potential member of the PCNA binding motif found in other PCNA-binding proteins. These studies provide an unequivocal demonstration that the p125 subunit of pol delta interacts with PCNA.

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