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Nucleic Acids Res. 1993 Feb 25;21(4):841-6.

Lagging strand DNA synthesis by calf thymus DNA polymerases alpha, beta, delta and epsilon in the presence of auxiliary proteins.

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Department of Veterinary Biochemistry, University Zürich-Irchel, Switzerland.


By using a defined gapped DNA substrate that mimics a lagging strand of 230 nucleotides and that contains a defined pause site, we have analyzed calf thymus DNA polymerases (pol) alpha, beta, delta, and epsilon in the presence of the three auxiliary proteins proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA), replication factor C (RF-C) and replication protein A (RP-A) for their ability to complete an Okazaki fragment. Pol alpha alone could fill the gap to near completion, but was strongly stopped by the pause site. Addition of low amounts of RP-A resulted in an increased synthesis by pol alpha past the pause site. In contrast, high amounts of RP-A strongly inhibited gap filling by pol alpha. Further inhibition was evident when the two other auxiliary proteins, PCNA and RF-C, were added in addition to RP-A. Pol beta could completely fill the gap without specific pausing and also was strongly inhibited by RP-A. PCNA and RF-C had no detectable effect on pol beta. Pol delta, relied as expected, on all three auxiliary proteins for complete gap filling synthesis and could, upon longer incubation, perform a limited amount of strand displacement synthesis. Pol epsilon core enzyme was able to fill the gap completely, but like pol alpha, essentially stopped at the pause site. This pausing could only be overcome upon addition of PCNA, RF-C and E. coli single-stranded DNA binding protein. Thus pol epsilon holoenzyme preferentially synthesized to the end of the gap without pausing. Ligation of the DNA products indicated that pol beta core enzyme, pol delta and pol epsilon holoenzymes (but not pol alpha and pol epsilon core enzyme) synthesized products that were easily ligatable. Our results indicate that pol epsilon holoenzyme fills a defined lagging strand gapped template to exact completion and is able to pass a pause site. The data favour the hypothesis of Burgers (Burgers, P.M.J. (1991) J. Biol. Chem. 266, 22698-22706) that pol epsilon might be a candidate for the second replication enzyme at the lagging strand of the replication fork.

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