Mammalian DNA polymerase alpha: a replication-competent holoenzyme form from calf thymus

Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci. 1987 Dec 15;317(1187):421-8. doi: 10.1098/rstb.1987.0069.


Calf thymus DNA polymerase alpha, like the replication-specific DNA polymerase III holoenzyme of Escherichia coli, can be isolated as a distinct complex. A specific multiprotein form of the polymerase alpha, a form designated replication-competent (RC) holoenzyme, consists of a complex of a polymerase-primase core and at least six other polypeptides. The RC holoenzyme can efficiently replicate several naturally occurring templates, including the genomic DNA of the porcine circovirus (PCV). The DNA of this virion consists of a single-stranded circle with a defined replication origin, and its replication requires the cellular DNA replication machinery. It might therefore provide an invaluable opportunity to investigate chromosomal replication mechanisms, analogous to the way that studies on E. coli bacteriophage DNA replication elucidated host DNA replication mechanisms. Calf RC holoenzyme alpha selectively initiates PCV DNA replication in vitro at a site that possibly represents a consensus sequence of cellular DNA replication origins. The cell-free PCV replication system will be exploited for the in vitro dissection and reconstitution of the RC holoenzyme and the functional analysis of its component polypeptides.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cattle
  • DNA Polymerase II / isolation & purification
  • DNA Polymerase II / metabolism*
  • DNA Replication*
  • Thymus Gland / enzymology*


  • DNA Polymerase II