Replitase: a complex integrating dNTP synthesis and DNA replication

Crit Rev Eukaryot Gene Expr. 1993;3(4):255-77.


Replitase is a multienzyme complex of mammalian cells that produces deoxynucleoside triphosphates and delivers them to the DNA polymerase activity, which also resides in the complex. Structural interactions within this complex form the basis of internal controls to keep these key biosynthetic processes efficient and in balance. The active complex is formed in the nuclear region in only the S phase of the cell cycle, when the cell's DNA is being replicated. Replitase is a member of the growing family of structured, multienzyme, biosynthetic complexes for which very similar complexes are found in prokaryotes and eukaryotes. Logically, the most basic of all biosynthetic pathways should show the efficiency and precise controls that even lesser pathways possess and, in fact, this seems to be so. In this article, we have outlined a broad range of evidence supporting the existence of the replitase complex in mammalian cells, a complex for dNTP synthesis and polymerase that exists only in the S phase and only in the nuclear region. This is consistent with localization studies in intact cells and after various forms of cell fractionation and, particularly, with experiments of incorporation of precursors into DNA in isolated complexes and S phase permeabilized cells. A most forceful argument for replitase is the existence of three striking phenomena--channeling, compartmentation, and cross-inhibition. These are very difficult, perhaps impossible, to explain without replitase; with replitase, their explanation is beautifully simple.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Compartmentation
  • DNA Replication*
  • Deoxyribonucleotides / metabolism*
  • Eukaryotic Cells / enzymology
  • Kinetics
  • Multienzyme Complexes / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Multienzyme Complexes / physiology*
  • Prokaryotic Cells / enzymology
  • Ribonucleotide Reductases / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Time Factors


  • Deoxyribonucleotides
  • Multienzyme Complexes
  • replitase
  • Ribonucleotide Reductases