DNA polymerase ε (Pol ε) participates in the synthesis of the leading strand during DNA replication in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Pol ε comprises four subunits: the catalytic subunit, Pol2, and three accessory subunits, Dpb2, Dpb3 and Dpb4. DPB2 is an essential gene with unclear function. A genetic screen was performed in S. cerevisiae to isolate lethal mutations in DPB2. The dpb2-200 allele carried two mutations within the last 13 codons of the open reading frame, one of which resulted in a six amino acid truncation. This truncated Dpb2 subunit was co-expressed with Pol2, Dpb3 and Dpb4 in S. cerevisiae, but this Dpb2 variant did not co-purify with the other Pol ε subunits. This resulted in the purification of a Pol2/Dpb3/Dpb4 complex that possessed high specific activity and high processivity and holoenzyme assays with PCNA, RFC and RPA on a single-primed circular template did not reveal any defects in replication efficiency. In conclusion, the lack of Dpb2 did not appear to have a negative effect on Pol ε activity. Thus, the C-terminal motif of Dpb2 that we have identified may instead be required for Dpb2 to fulfill an essential structural role at the replication origin or at the replication fork.
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