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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Phosphorylation of Okazaki-like DNA fragments in mammalian cells and role of polyamines in the processing of this DNA.

In mammalian cells DNA synthesis is more complicated than in prokaryotes and less well understood. Here we incubated intact mammalian cells (polyamine auxotrophic Chinese hamster ovary cells and primary human fibroblasts) with [32P]orthophosphate and found that, besides high molecular weight DNA, a species of low molecular weight DNA, approximately 450 bp in size, became efficiently labeled. The short DNA was labeled first, and in pulse-chase experiments the labeling was transient. The isolated small DNA fragments (RNase A-treated) were phosphorylated by T4 polynucleotide kinase specific for polynucleotides with 5'-OH ends. A polynucleotide kinase phosphorylating these DNA pieces was also detected in nuclear extracts of the cells. Treatment with alkaline phosphatase removed most of the 32P label incorporated into the small DNA in vivo. Labeling with deoxyribonucleosides did not reveal these fragments. We hypothesize that the low molecular weight DNA represents Okazaki fragments and that the mammalian DNA replication machinery includes a polynucleotide kinase phosphorylating the 5'-termini of Okazaki fragments. This would imply a novel step in DNA synthesis. We also show that depriving cells of polyamines reversibly blocks synthesis of high molecular weight DNA and leads to accumulation of the short DNA pieces, suggesting a role for polyamines in joining the Okazaki fragments.[1]


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