, Volume 92, Issue 1, pp 23-35

Molecular forms in human serum of enzymes synthesizing DNA precursors and DNA

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Abstract

Both thymidine kinase (TK) and DNA polymerase (DNAp) are present in measurable amounts in human serum. Even though the use of TK as a clinical marker is rapidly increasing there has been no attempt to characterize the serum TK in a wider extent, i.e.; with respect to Mw or other biochemical parameters. Therefore sera with high TK or DNAp activities derived from patients with cytomegalo-virus (CMV) infection, B12-deficiency and leukaemia were fractionated by gel exclusion chromatography. The TK activity eluted as two peaks, one major TK activity with an apparent molecular weight (Mw) or 730 kD and one minor TK activity corresponding to a Mw of 58 kD. The amount of TK activity at 58 kD varied between 7 and 23% of total activity, depending on the serum fractionated. The DNAp activity in sera from patients with malignant disease and B12 deficiency eluted as a single peak corresponding to a Mw of 240 kD. A DNAp with a different Mw (>1000 kD) was recovered from 1 of 3 investigated immunosuppressed patients with CMV infection. A similar pattern of enzyme forms was observed when sera were separated by glycerol gradient centrifugation.

The effect of high salt and various reaction solution components on the enzymes were studied. The only condition found that affected the molecular forms of TK was the state of reduction. Incubation of sera with high concentrations of dithioerythritol (DTE) (400 mM) prior to separation transferred all serum TK to the 58 kD form, it also converted most of the serum DNAp from the 240 kD form to a smaller form (56 kD) without affecting the total recovery of enzymatic activity.

The reaction product from both TK forms was exclusively monophosphate and none of the TK forms could efficiently utilize cytidine triphosphate as phosphate donor. The substrate kinetics of the small serum TK fraction was identical with those of an enzyme with similar size purified from proliferating HeLa cells, indicating that both serum TK activities are forms of TK 1, the proliferation associated cellular isozyme.