University of Oulu

The role of human replicative DNA polymerases in DNA repair and replication

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Author: Rytkönen, Anna1,2
Organizations: 1University of Oulu, Faculty of Science, Department of Biochemistry
2University of Oulu, Biocenter Oulu
Format: ebook
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.9 MB)
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Language: English
Published: 2006
Publish Date: 2006-08-31
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 Raahensali (Auditorium L10), Linnanmaa, on September 9th, 2006, at 12 noon
Reviewer: Docent Mikko Lammi
Docent Harri Savilahti


The maintenance of integrity of the genome is essential for a cell. DNA repair and faithful DNA replication ensure the stability of the genome. DNA polymerases (pols) are the enzymes that synthesise DNA, a process important both in DNA replication and repair. In DNA replication DNA polymerases duplicate the genome during S phase prior to cell division. Pols α, δ, and ε are implicated in chromosomal DNA replication, but their exact function in replication is not yet completely clear. The mechanisms of different repair pathways and proteins involved are not yet completely characterised either. The deeper understanding of DNA repair and replication mechanisms is crucial for our understanding on the function of the cell.

The mechanism of repair of DNA double strand breaks (DSBs) by non-homologous end joining (NHEJ) was studied with an in vitro assay. DNA polymerase activity was found to be involved in NHEJ and important in stabilising DNA ends. Antibodies against pol α, but not pol β or ε, decreased NHEJ significantly, which indicates the involvement of pol α in NHEJ. In addition, the removal of proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA) slightly decreased NHEJ activity.

The division of labour between pols α, δ, and ε during DNA replication was studied. Results from UV-crosslinking, chromatin association, replication in isolated nuclei, and immunoelectron microscopy (IEM) studies showed that there are temporal differences between the activities and localisations of the pols during S phase. Pol α was active throughout S phase, pol ε was more active at early S phase, whereas the activity of pol δ increased as S phase advanced. These results suggest that pols δ and ε function independently during DNA replication.

Pol ε could be crosslinked to nascent RNA, and this labelling was not linked to DNA replication, but rather to transcription. Immunoprecipitation studies indicated that pol ε, but not pols α and δ, associated with RNA polymerase II (RNA pol II). Only the hyperphosphorylated, transcriptionally active RNA pol II was found to associate with pol ε. A large proportion of pol ε and RNA pol II colocalised in cells as determined with immunoelectron microscopy. The interaction between pol ε and RNA pol II suggests that they are involved in a global regulation of transcription and DNA replication.

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Series: Acta Universitatis Ouluensis. A, Scientiae rerum naturalium
ISSN-E: 1796-220X
ISBN: 951-42-8138-1
ISBN Print: 951-42-8137-3
Issue: 464
Copyright information: © University of Oulu, 2006. This publication is copyrighted. You may download, display and print it for your own personal use. Commercial use is prohibited.