Phosphorylation of a high molecular weight DNA polymerase alpha

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1987 Feb;84(3):759-63. doi: 10.1073/pnas.84.3.759.


Anti-human DNA polymerase alpha murine IgG SJK-287-38 [Tanaka, S., Hu, S.-Z., Wang, T. S.-F. & Korn, D. (1982) J. Biol. Chem. 257, 8386-8390] neutralized DNA polymerase alpha activity from rat embryonic fibroblasts infected with a temperature-sensitive transformation mutant of Rous sarcoma virus (tsLA24). After centrifugation of a crude cytosol fraction from log-phase cells in a 5-20% linear sucrose gradient, polypeptides of Mr approximately equal to 185,000 and 220,000 were immunoprecipitated only from gradient fractions containing DNA polymerase alpha activity. When similar cultures were incubated in medium containing [32P]orthophosphate, it was found that the Mr 220,000 protein was phosphorylated but that the other peptides specific for polymerase alpha activity did not contain detectable amounts of phosphate. Phospho amino acid analysis of the high molecular weight immunoprecipitable proteins indicated that the labeled amino acid was phosphoserine. Incubation of 2.5 units of crude DNA polymerase alpha with 4 units of agarose-immobilized alkaline phosphatase resulted in a nearly complete inhibition of DNA polymerase alpha activity. Subsequent incubation of this preparation with 5 or 50 microM ATP, but not the nonhydrolyzable analog adenosine 5'-[gamma-thio]triphosphate, restored the in vitro DNA polymerizing activity. These results demonstrate that a high molecular weight DNA polymerase alpha (Mr approximately equal to 220,000) is phosphorylated in cultured cells and that this protein is a substrate for a serine kinase rather than the tyrosine-specific protein kinase of Rous sarcoma virus. The results suggest that phosphorylation/dephosphorylation reactions modulate the activity of this polymerase.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Alkaline Phosphatase / metabolism
  • Amino Acids / analysis
  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Antigen-Antibody Complex
  • Avian Sarcoma Viruses / genetics
  • Cell Transformation, Neoplastic
  • Cells, Cultured
  • DNA Polymerase II / isolation & purification
  • DNA Polymerase II / metabolism*
  • Molecular Weight
  • Phosphorylation
  • Rats


  • Amino Acids
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Antigen-Antibody Complex
  • DNA Polymerase II
  • Alkaline Phosphatase