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ScientificWorldJournal. 2003 Mar 17;3:21-33.

The DNA polymerase alpha-primase complex: multiple functions and interactions.

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Dipartimento di Genetica e di Biologia dei Microrganismi, Università degli Studi di Milano, Via Celoria 26, 20133 Milano, Italy.


DNA polymerase alpha (pol alpha) holds a special position among the growing family of eukaryotic DNA polymerases. In fact, pol alpha is associated with DNA primase to form a four subunit complex and, as a consequence, is the only enzyme able to start DNA synthesis de novo. Because of this peculiarity the major role of the DNA polymerase alpha-primase complex (pol-prim) is in the initiation of DNA replication at chromosomal origins and in the discontinuous synthesis of Okazaki fragments on the lagging strand of the replication fork. However, pol-prim seems to play additional roles in other complex cellular processes, such as the response to DNA damage, telomere maintenance, and the epigenetic control of higher order chromatin assembly.

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