The cellular DNA polymerase alpha-primase is required for papillomavirus DNA replication and associates with the viral E1 helicase

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1994 Aug 30;91(18):8700-4. doi: 10.1073/pnas.91.18.8700.


Persistent infection by papillomaviruses involves the maintenance of viral DNA as a nuclear plasmid, the replication of which requires host DNA polymerases. The role of the cellular DNA polymerase alpha-primase holoenzyme was probed by using soluble extracts from rodent cells that replicate bovine papilloma virus 1 and human papilloma virus 6b DNA in the presence of the viral E1 helicase and the E2 transcription factor. Monoclonal antibodies directed against the catalytic 180-kDa subunit of polymerase alpha inhibit DNA synthesis in this system. Addition of purified human polymerase alpha-primase holoenzyme to neutralized extracts restores their DNA synthetic activity. The amino-terminal 424 amino acids of E1 forms a specific protein complex with the p180 polymerase subunit. Immune complexes can be isolated with antibodies directed against E1 that contain a DNA polymerase activity. Moreover, this polymerase activity can be neutralized by anti-polymerase alpha antibodies. Permissivity barriers were not encountered in this in vitro system, as bovine E1 can interface with the murine and human replication apparatus. Although the large tumor antigens encoded by simian virus 40 and polyoma share limited primary sequence homology with the papillomavirus E1 proteins, the organization of functional motifs at the level of primary protein structure is remarkably similar. In addition to their origin-specific DNA-binding activity, each of these helicases may function to help recruit the cellular polymerase alpha-primase complex to the viral replication origin.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bovine papillomavirus 1 / genetics*
  • Cattle
  • Cell-Free System
  • DNA Helicases / metabolism
  • DNA Polymerase II / metabolism*
  • DNA Primase
  • DNA Replication*
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Papillomaviridae / genetics*
  • RNA Nucleotidyltransferases / metabolism*
  • Viral Proteins / metabolism
  • Virus Replication*


  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • E1 protein, Bovine papillomavirus
  • Viral Proteins
  • DNA Primase
  • RNA Nucleotidyltransferases
  • DNA Polymerase II
  • DNA Helicases