HeLa cell DNA polymerases: the effect of cycloheximide in vivo and detection of a new form of DNA polymerase alpha

Biochim Biophys Acta. 1977 Jul 5;477(1):70-83. doi: 10.1016/0005-2787(77)90161-7.


Blockage of protein synthesis in HeLa cells by cycloheximide leads to selective effects on the levels of DNA polymerases alpha, beta, and gamma in the cell. The total activity of DNA polymerase alpha remains unchanged after 7 h exposure of cells to cycloheximide but drops to 50% of its original level after 24 h. The level of the beta-polymerase falls rapidly in the cell and is reduced to less than 30% of its initial value by 7 h after treatment of the cells with cycloheximide. The gamma-polymerase level is diminished by 30--40% during the 7 h cycloheximide treatment and reaches 50% of its original level after 24 h. Cells which have been exposed to cycloheximide for 7 h will regain normal levels of the beta- and gamma-polymerases within 90 min after removal of the drug. The cycloheximide-treated cells also show the presence of a new form of the alpha-polymerase, designated alpha1, which can be clearly detected as a separate entity in column chromatography. The level of alpha1 in the nucleus increases during the period that the cells are treated and cycloheximide so that after 24 h it represents almost 50% of the nuclear DNA polymerase activity. The presence of alpha1 in the cytoplasmic fraction can also be demonstrated in both cycloheximide-treated and normal, growing cells.

MeSH terms

  • Cell Nucleus / enzymology
  • Cycloheximide / pharmacology*
  • DNA Polymerase II / metabolism
  • DNA, Neoplasm / biosynthesis
  • DNA-Directed DNA Polymerase / metabolism*
  • HeLa Cells / drug effects
  • HeLa Cells / enzymology
  • Leucine / metabolism
  • Neoplasm Proteins / biosynthesis
  • Templates, Genetic
  • Thymidine / metabolism


  • DNA, Neoplasm
  • Neoplasm Proteins
  • Cycloheximide
  • DNA Polymerase II
  • DNA-Directed DNA Polymerase
  • Leucine
  • Thymidine