Poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP) is a component of the multiprotein DNA replication complex (MRC, DNA synthesome) that catalyzes replication of viral DNA in vitro. PARP poly(ADP-ribosyl)ates 15 of the approximately 40 proteins of the MRC, including DNA polymerase alpha (DNA pol alpha), DNA topoisomerase I (topo I), and proliferating-cell nuclear antigen (PCNA). Although about equal amounts of MRC-complexed and free forms of PCNA were detected by immunoblot analysis of HeLa cell extracts, only the complexed form was poly(ADP-ribosyl)ated, suggesting that poly(ADP-ribosyl)ation of PCNA may regulate its function within the MRC. NAD inhibited the activity of DNA pol delta in the MRC in a dose-dependent manner, whereas the PARP inhibitor, 3-AB, reversed this inhibitory effect. The roles of PARP in modulating the composition and enzyme activities of the DNA synthesome were further investigated by characterizing the complex purified from 3T3-L1 cells before and 24 h after induction of a round of DNA replication required for differentiation of these cells; at the latter time point, approximately 95% of the cells are in S phase and exhibit a transient peak of PARP expression. The MRC was also purified from similarly treated 3T3-L1 cells depleted of PARP by antisense RNA expression; these cells do not undergo DNA replication nor terminal differentiation. Both PARP protein and activity and essentially all of the DNA pol alpha and delta activities exclusively cosedimented with the MRC fractions from S phase control cells, and were not detected in the MRC fractions from PARP-antisense or uninduced control cells. Immunoblot analysis further revealed that, although PCNA and topo I were present in total extracts from both control and PARP-antisense cells, they were present in the MRC fraction only from induced control cells, indicating that PARP may play a role in their assembly into an active DNA synthesome. In contrast, expression of DNA pol alpha, DNA primase, and RPA was down-regulated in PARP-antisense cells, suggesting that PARP may be involved in the expression of these proteins. Depletion of PARP also prevented induction of the expression of the transcription factor E2F-1, which positively regulates transcription of the DNA pol alpha and PCNA genes; thus, PARP may be necessary for expression of these genes when quiescent cells are stimulated to proliferate.