The quaternary structure of DNA polymerase epsilon from Saccharomyces cerevisiae

J Biol Chem. 2003 Apr 18;278(16):14082-6. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M211818200. Epub 2003 Feb 5.


DNA polymerase epsilon (Pol epsilon) from Saccharomyces cerevisiae consists of four subunits (Pol2, Dpb2, Dpb3, and Dpb4) and is essential for chromosomal DNA replication. Biochemical characterizations of Pol epsilon have been cumbersome due to protease sensitivity and the limited amounts of Pol epsilon in cells. We have developed a protocol for overexpression and purification of Pol epsilon from S. cerevisiae. The native four-subunit complex was purified to homogeneity by conventional chromatography. Pol epsilon was characterized biochemically by sedimentation velocity experiments and gel filtration experiments. The stoichiometry of the four subunits was estimated to be 1:1:1:1 from colloidal Coomassie-stained gels. Based on the sedimentation coefficient (11.9 S) and the Stokes radius (74.5 A), a molecular mass for Pol epsilon of 371 kDa was calculated, in good agreement with the calculated molecular mass of 379 kDa for a heterotetramer. Furthermore, analytical equilibrium ultracentrifugation experiments support the proposed heterotetrameric structure of Pol epsilon. Thus, both DNA polymerase delta and Pol epsilon are purified as monomeric complexes, in agreement with accumulating evidence that Pol delta and Pol epsilon are located on opposite strands of the eukaryotic replication fork.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Catalase
  • Catalytic Domain
  • Cell Division
  • Chromatography
  • Chromatography, Gel
  • DNA Polymerase II / chemistry*
  • DNA Polymerase II / metabolism
  • DNA Polymerase III / chemistry
  • Dimerization
  • Electrophoresis, Polyacrylamide Gel
  • Glycerol / pharmacology
  • Plasmids / metabolism
  • Protein Structure, Quaternary
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / enzymology*


  • Catalase
  • DNA Polymerase II
  • DNA Polymerase III
  • Glycerol