Repair of benzo[a]pyrene-initiated DNA damage in human cells requires activation of DNA polymerase alpha

C. O. Joe, V. L. Sylvia, J. O. Norman, D. L. Busbee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Normal human fibroblasts treated with r-7, t-8-dihydroxy-t-9,10-epoxy-7,8,9,10-tetrahydrobenzo[a]pyrene (BPDE) yielded DNA polymerase alpha with elevated levels of activity, incorporated [3H]thymidine as a function of unscheduled DNA synthesis, and exhibited restoration of normal DNA-strand length as a function of unscheduled DNA synthesis. Lipoprotein-deficient fibroblasts treated with BPDE did not show elevated levels of DNA polymerase alpha activity, exhibited minimal [3H]thymidine incorporation, and had fragmented DNA after 24 h of repair in the absence of lipoprotein or phosphatidylinositol supplementation. When DNA polymerase beta activity was inhibited, cells with normal lipoprotein uptake exhibited [3H]thymidine incorporation into BPDE-damaged DNA but did not show an increase in DNA-strand length. DNA polymerase alpha activity and [3H]thymidine incorporation in lipoprotein-deficient fibroblasts increased to normal levels when the cells were permeabilized and low-density lipoproteins or phosphatidylinositol were introduced into the cells. DNA polymerase alpha isolated from normal human fibroblasts, but not from lipoprotein-deficient fibroblasts, showed increased specific activity after the cells were treated with BPDE. When BPDE-treated lipoprotein-deficient fibroblasts were permeabilized and 32P-ATP was introduced into the cells along with lipoproteins, 32P-labeled DNA polymerase alpha with significantly increased specific activity was isolated from the cells. These data suggest that treatment of human fibroblasts with BPDE initiates unscheduled DNA synthesis, as a function of DNA excision repair, which is correlated with increased activity of DNA polymerase alpha, and that increased DNA polymerase alpha activity may be correlated with phosphorylation of the enzyme in a reaction that is stimulated by low-density lipoprotein or by the lipoprotein component, phosphatidylinositol.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)129-137
Number of pages9
JournalMutation Research DNA Repair Reports
Issue number2
StatePublished - Sep 1987
Externally publishedYes


  • (Human cells)
  • Benzo[a]pyrene-initiated
  • DNA damage
  • DNA polymerase alpha, activation
  • Thymidine
  • Unscheduled DNA synthesis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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