A continuing theme of our laboraory, has been the understanding of human DNA polymerases at the structural level. We have purified DNA polymerases delta, epsilon and alpha from human placenta. Monoclonal antibodies to these polymerases were isolated and used as tools to study their immunochemical relationships. These studies have shown that while DNA polymerases delta, epsilon and alpha are discrete protiens, they must share common structural features by virtue of the ability of several of our monoclonal antibodies to exhibit cross-reactivity. A second approach we have taken is the molecular cloning of human DNA polymerase delta and epsilon. We have cloned the DNA polymerase delta cDNA, and this has allowed us to compare its primary structure to those of human polymerase alpha and other members of this polymerase family. Multiple sequence alignments have revealed that human DNA polymerase delta is also closely related to the herpes virus family of DNA polymerases. In situ hybridization has shown that the human DNA polymerase delta gene is localized to chromosome 19 q13.3-q13.4. In order to further determine the functional regions of the DNA polymerase δ structure we are currently expressing human pol δ in E. coli and baculovirus systems. Other work in our laboratory is directed toward examining the expression of DNA polymerase δ during the cell cycle.
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