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Eukaryotic DNA polymerase delta is thought to consist of three (budding yeast) or four subunits (fission yeast, mammals). Four human genes encoding polypeptides p125, p50, p66, and p12 have been assigned as subunits of DNA polymerase delta. However, rigorous purification of human or bovine DNA polymerase delta from natural sources has usually yielded two-subunit preparations containing only p125 and p50 polypeptides. To reconstitute an intact DNA polymerase delta, we have constructed recombinant baculoviruses encoding the p125, p50, p66, and p12 subunits. From insect cells infected with four baculoviruses, protein preparations containing the four polypeptides of expected sizes were isolated. The four-subunit DNA polymerase delta displayed a specific activity comparable with that of the human, bovine, and fission yeast proteins isolated from natural sources. Recombinant DNA polymerase delta efficiently replicated singly primed M13 DNA in the presence of replication protein A, proliferating cell nuclear antigen, and replication factor C and was active in the SV40 DNA replication system. A three-subunit subcomplex consisting of the p125, p50, and p66 subunits, but lacking the p12 subunit, was also isolated. The p125, p50, and p66 polypeptides formed a stable complex that displayed DNA polymerizing activity 15-fold lower than that of the four-subunit polymerase. p12, expressed and purified individually, stimulated the activity of the three-subunit complex 4-fold on poly(dA)-oligo(dT) template-primer but had no effect on the activity of the four-subunit enzyme. Therefore, the p12 subunit is required to reconstitute fully active recombinant human DNA polymerase delta.

Original publication




Journal article


J Biol Chem

Publication Date





3894 - 3901


Baculoviridae, Base Sequence, DNA, DNA Polymerase III, DNA Primers, Humans, Recombinant Proteins, Recombination, Genetic