University of Oulu

Human DNA polymerase ε : expression, phosphorylation and protein-protein interactions

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Author: Tuusa, Jussi1,2
Organizations: 1University of Oulu, Biocenter Oulu
2University of Oulu, Faculty of Science, Department of Biochemistry
Format: ebook
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 1.6 MB)
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Language: English
Published: 2001
Publish Date: 2001-11-27
Thesis type: Doctoral Dissertation
Defence Note: Academic Dissertation to be presented with the assent of the Faculty of Science, University of Oulu, for public discussion in Kajaaninsali (Auditorium L6), Linnanmaa, on December 17th, 2001, at 2 p.m.
Reviewer: Professor Kalle Saksela
Docent Hans Spelbrink


DNA replication is a process in which a cell duplicates its genome before cell division, and must proceed accurately and in organized manner to guarantee maintenance of the integrity of the genetic information. DNA polymerases are enzymes that catalyse the synthesis of the new DNA strand by utilizing the parental strand as a template. In addition to chromosomal replication, DNA synthesis and therefore DNA polymerases are also needed in other processes like DNA repair and DNA recombination. The DNA polymerase is an essential DNA polymerase in eukaryotes and is required for chromosomal DNA replication. It has also been implicated in DNA repair, recombination, and in transcriptional and cell cycle control. The regulation of the human enzyme was explored by analysing its expression, phosphorylation and protein-protein interactions.

Expression of both the A and B subunits of the human DNA polymerase ε was strongly growth-regulated. After serum-stimulation of quiescent fibroblasts, the steady-state mRNA levels were up-regulated at least 5-fold. In actively cycling cells, however, the steady-state mRNA and protein levels fluctuated less than 2-fold, being highest in G1/S phase.

The promoter of the B subunit gene was analysed in detail. The 75 bp core promoter was essentially dependent on the Sp1 transcription factor. Furthermore, mitogenic control of the promoter required an intact E2F binding element, and binding of E2F2, E2F4 and p107 was demonstrated in vitro. A down-regulation element, located immediately downstream from the core promoter, bound E2F1, NF-1 and pRb transcription factors. A model of the promoter function is presented.

Topoisomerase IIβ binding protein 1 (TopBP1) was found to be associated with human DNA polymerase ε. TopBP1 contains eight BRCT domains and is homologous to Saccharomyces cerevisiae Dpb11, Schizosaccharomyces pombe Cut5, Drosophila melanogaster Mus101 and the human Breast Cancer susceptibility protein 1 (BRCA1). TopBP1 is a phosphoprotein, whose expression is induced at the G1/S border and is required for chromosomal DNA replication. It co-localizes in S phase with BRCA1 into discrete foci, which do not represent sites of ongoing DNA replication. However, if DNA is damaged or replication is blocked in S phase cells, TopBP1 and BRCA1 re-localize into proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA) containing foci that represent stalled replication forks.

Finally, phosphorylation of DNA polymerase ε was described and at least three immunologically distinct and differentially phosphorylated forms were shown to exist. Phosphorylation is on serine and threonine residues and shows a cell cycle dependent fluctuation, but is not affected by DNA damage or by inhibition of DNA replication. BRCA1 co-immunoprecipitates with a hypophosphorylated form of DNA polymerase ε. In contrast, TopBP1 was shown to be associated with a hyperphosphorylated form.

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Series: Acta Universitatis Ouluensis. D, Medica
ISSN-E: 1796-2234
ISBN: 951-42-6581-5
ISBN Print: 951-42-6580-7
Issue: 661
Copyright information: © University of Oulu, 2001. This publication is copyrighted. You may download, display and print it for your own personal use. Commercial use is prohibited.