Human DNA polymerase α: Predicted functional domains and relationships with viral DNA polymerases

T. S.F. Wang, S. W. Wong, D. Korn

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

162 Scopus citations


The primary sequence of human DNA polymerase α deduced from the full-length cDNA contains regions of striking similarity to sequences in replicative DNA polymerases from Escherichia coli phages PRD1 and T4, Bacillus phage ∅19, yeast DNA polymerase I, yeast linear plasmid pGKL1, maize S1 mitochondrial DNA, herpes family viruses, vaccinia virus, and adenovirus. The conservation of these homologous regions across this vast phylogenetic expanse indicates that these prokaryotic and eukaryotic DNA polymerases may all have evolved from a common primordial gene. Based on the sequence analysis and genetic results from yeast and herpes simplex virus studies, these consensus sequences are suggested to define potential sites that subserve essential roles in the DNA polymerase reaction. Two of these conserved regions appear to participate directly in the active site required for substrate deoxynucleotide interaction. One region toward the carboxyl-terminus has the potential to be the DNA interacting domain, whereas a potential DNA primase interaction domain is predicted toward the amino-terminus. The provisional assignment of these domains can be used to identify unique or dissimilar features of functionally homologous catalytic sites in viral DNA polymerases of pathogenetic significance and thereby serve to guide more rational antiviral drug design.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)14-21
Number of pages8
JournalFASEB Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1989
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics


Dive into the research topics of 'Human DNA polymerase α: Predicted functional domains and relationships with viral DNA polymerases'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this