Properties of the 3' to 5' exonuclease associated with porcine liver DNA polymerase gamma. Substrate specificity, product analysis, inhibition, and kinetics of terminal excision

J Biol Chem. 1991 Dec 25;266(36):24702-11.


Porcine liver DNA polymerase gamma was shown previously to copurify with an associated 3' to 5' exonuclease activity (Kunkel, T. A., and Mosbaugh, D. W. (1989) Biochemistry 28, 988-995). The 3' to 5' exonuclease has now been characterized, and like the DNA polymerase activity, it has an absolute requirement for a divalent metal cation (Mg2+ or Mn2+), a relatively high NaCl and KCl optimum (150-200 mM), and an alkaline pH optimum between 7 and 10. The exonuclease has a 7.5-fold preference for single-stranded over double-stranded DNA, but it cannot excise 3'-terminal dideoxy-NMP residues from either substrate. Excision of 3'-terminally mismatched nucleotides was preferred approximately 5-fold over matched 3' termini, and the hydrolysis product from both was a deoxyribonucleoside 5'-monophosphate. The kinetics of 3'-terminal excision were measured at a single site on M13mp2 DNA for each of the 16 possible matched and mismatched primer.template combinations. As defined by the substrate specificity constant (Vmax/Km), each of the 12 mismatched substrates was preferred over the four matched substrates (A.T, T.A, C.G, G.C). Furthermore, the exonuclease could efficiently excise internally mismatched nucleotides up to 4 residues from the 3' end. DNA polymerase gamma was not found to possess detectable DNA primase, endonuclease, 5' to 3' exonuclease, RNase, or RNase H activities. The DNA polymerase and exonuclease activities exhibited dissimilar rates of heat inactivation and sensitivity to N-ethylmaleimide. After nondenaturing activity gel electrophoresis, the DNA polymerase and 3' to 5' exonuclease activities were partially resolved and detected in situ as separate species. A similar analysis on a denaturing activity gel identified catalytic polypeptides with molecular weights of 127,000, 60,000, and 32,000 which possessed only DNA polymerase gamma activity. Collectively, these results suggest that the polymerase and exonuclease activities reside in separate polypeptides, which could be derived from separate gene products or from proteolysis of a single gene product.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Base Sequence
  • Catalysis
  • DNA / metabolism
  • DNA Polymerase III / antagonists & inhibitors
  • DNA Polymerase III / metabolism*
  • Electrophoresis, Polyacrylamide Gel
  • Exonucleases / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Exonucleases / metabolism*
  • Hot Temperature
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Kinetics
  • Liver / enzymology*
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Protein Denaturation
  • Substrate Specificity
  • Swine


  • DNA
  • DNA Polymerase III
  • Exonucleases