Biochemical and biophysical research communications

DNA polymerase alpha activity is not affected by protein kinases or alkaline phosphatase.

PMID 2930569


Recent studies with crude or partially purified cell extracts have suggested that DNA polymerase alpha activity may be regulated by enzymatic phosphorylation. To further investigate these findings, we have examined the effects of protein kinases and phosphatases on highly purified DNA polymerase alpha from mouse cells. Incubation of DNA polymerase alpha with a variety of protein kinases, including protein kinase C, had no effect on polymerase activity. In addition, treatment of the polymerase with soluble calf intestinal alkaline phosphatase had no effect on DNA polymerase alpha activity, further indicating that phosphorylation does not have a direct role in modulating polymerase activity. In contrast, incubation of DNA polymerase alpha with calf intestinal alkaline phosphatase crosslinked to agarose beads resulted in a time dependent disappearance of polymerase activity. This loss of DNA polymerase activity was dependent on phosphatase activity, as the alkaline phosphatase inhibitors, potassium phosphate or levamisole, prevented the loss of polymerase activity in the presence of the beaded phosphatase. The loss of DNA polymerase alpha activity following beaded phosphatase treatment was not a general phenomena as the large fragment of Escherichia coli DNA polymerase I, T4 DNA polymerase or mouse primase were not affected by similar treatment. The decreased DNA polymerase activity following incubation with phosphatase beads correlated with the binding of the DNA polymerase polypeptides, p185 and p68, to the agarose beads and this binding could not be reversed by either 150 mM potassium chloride or sodium sulfate. The binding of the polymerase to the agarose beads was dependent on the phosphatase activity, as the polymerase could be first treated with soluble calf intestinal phosphatase and subsequently bound to added Sepharose 4B beads. Surprisingly, Sepharose CL4B, a highly desulfated agarose preparation, did not bind the phosphatase-treated polymerase suggesting that sulfated polysaccharides are required for polymerase binding. The physiological correlate of this binding is unknown, but it has been reported that sulfated polysaccharides exist in a variety of intracellular compartments. It would be interesting to speculate that phosphorylation controls the intracellular compartmentalization of DNA polymerase alpha.