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J Biol Chem. 1977 Nov 10;252(21):7888-93.

In vitro replication of mitochondrial DNA. Elongation of the endogenous primer sequence in D loop mitochondrial DNA by human DNA polymerase beta.


Whe incubated in the presence of Mn2+ as the divalent metal activator, highly purified human DNA polymerase beta performs a selective and limited replication of KB cell closed circular mtDNA. On the basis of biochemical and electron microscopic analyses of the reaction product, we demonstrate that the polymerase specifically recognizes and elongates the 9 S primer sequence in D loop mtDNA and then proceeds to copy the displaced strand. The point at which the enzyme switches template strands is most likely that at which all negative superhelical turns have been removed and an energetically unfavorable introduction of positive superhelical turns would be required for further synthesis on the initial parental template strand. The product of the reaction is an enlarged D loop that has been converted to a duplex structure. This is the first description of the capacity of a pure eukaryotic DNA polymerase to replicate a naturally occurring, specifically initiated duplex DNA molecule. Our results suggest that this system may be particularly useful in developing an in vitro duplex circular DNA replication system with purified eukaryotic components.

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