Isolation and characterization of DNA polymerase ε from the silk glands of Bombyx mori

Niranjanakumari, S. ; Gopinathan, K. P. (1993) Isolation and characterization of DNA polymerase ε from the silk glands of Bombyx mori The Journal of Biological Chemistry, 268 . pp. 15557-15564. ISSN 0021-9258

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The silk gland of Bombyx mori, an endomitotically replicative tissue shows high levels of DNA polymerases alpha, delta, and epsilon activities. The ratio of polymerase alpha to that of delta plus epsilon is maintained at 1.1 to 1.3 in both the posterior and middle silk glands for the entire duration of late larval development. The three activities copurify in the initial stages of fractionation through phosphocellulose and DE52 but polymerase alpha gets resolved from the others on hydroxylapatite column. Separation between polymerase delta and epsilon is achieved by chromatography on QAE-Sephadex. DNA polymerase epsilon is a heterodimer comprising of 215- and 42-kDa subunits. The activity is maximum at pH 6.5 and the Km values for dNTPs vary between 3-9 microM. The enzyme possesses an intrinsically associated exonuclease activity which functions in the mismatch repair during DNA synthesis. Both polymerase and 3'→5' exonuclease activities are associated with the 215-kDa subunit. By itself, DNA polymerase epsilon is processive and the catalytic activity is not enhanced by externally added bPCNA (Bombyx-proliferating cell nuclear antigen, an auxiliary protein for DNA polymerase delta). The enzyme resembles polymerase delta in having the exonuclease activity and in its response to aphidicolin or substrate analogs, but could be distinguished from the latter by its lack of response to the bPCNA and sensitivity to dimethyl sulfoxide. The two enzymes show partial immunological cross-reactivity with each other but no immunological relatedness to polymerase alpha. The absence of the repair enzyme DNA polymerase beta and the presence of substantial levels of polymerase epsilon in the silk glands suggest a possible role for the latter in DNA repair in that tissue.

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