Primary structure of T4 DNA polymerase. Evolutionary relatedness to eucaryotic and other procaryotic DNA polymerases

J Biol Chem. 1988 Jun 5;263(16):7478-86.


Bacteriophage T4 gene 43 codes for the viral DNA polymerase. We report here the sequence of gene 43 and about 70 nucleotides of 5'- and 3'-flanking sequences, determined by both DNA and RNA sequencing. We have also purified T4 DNA polymerase from T4 infected Escherichia coli and from E. coli containing a gene 43 overexpression vector. A major portion of the deduced amino acid sequence has been verified by peptide mapping and sequencing of the purified DNA polymerase. All these results are consistent with T4 DNA polymerase having 898 amino acids with a calculated Mr = 103,572. Comparison of the primary structure of T4 DNA polymerase with the sequence of other procaryotic and eucaryotic DNA polymerases indicates that T4 DNA polymerase has regions of striking similarity with animal virus DNA polymerases and human DNA polymerase alpha. Surprisingly, T4 DNA polymerase shares only limited similarity with E. coli polymerase I and no detectable similarity with T7 DNA polymerase. Based on the location of specific mutations in T4 DNA polymerase and the conservation of particular sequences in T4 and eucaryotic DNA polymerases, we propose that the NH2-terminal half of T4 DNA polymerase forms a domain that carries out the 3'----5' exonuclease activity whereas the COOH-terminal half of the polypeptide contains the dNTP-binding site and is necessary for DNA synthesis.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Base Sequence
  • Biological Evolution
  • Cells / enzymology*
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid
  • Cloning, Molecular
  • DNA-Directed DNA Polymerase / analysis
  • DNA-Directed DNA Polymerase / genetics*
  • Escherichia coli / enzymology
  • Eukaryotic Cells / enzymology*
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Molecular Weight
  • Plasmids
  • Prokaryotic Cells / enzymology*
  • T-Phages / enzymology*


  • DNA-Directed DNA Polymerase

Associated data

  • GENBANK/J02510
  • GENBANK/M10160
  • GENBANK/X00769