Plant Molecular Biology

, Volume 16, Issue 6, pp 1019–1034 | Cite as

Pea chloroplast DNA primase: characterization and role in initiation of replication

  • Brent L. Nielsen
  • V. K. Rajasekhar
  • K. K. Tewari


A DNA primase activity was isolated from pea chloroplasts and examined for its role in replication. The DNA primase activity was separated from the majority of the chloroplast RNA polymerase activity by linear salt gradient elution from a DEAE-cellulose column, and the two enzyme activities were separately purified through heparin-Sepharose columns. The primase activity was not inhibited by tagetitoxin, a specific inhibitor of chloroplast RNA polymerase, or by polyclonal antibodies prepared against purified pea chloroplast RNA polymerase, while the RNA polymerase activity was inhibited completely by either tagetitoxin or the polyclonal antibodies. The DNA primase activity was capable of priming DNA replication on single-stranded templates including poly(dT), poly(dC), M13mp19, and M13mp19_+ 2.1, which contains the AT-rich pea chloroplast origin of replication. The RNA polymerase fraction was incapable of supporting incorporation of 3H-TTP in in vitro replication reactions using any of these single-stranded DNA templates. Glycerol gradient analysis indicated that the pea chloroplast DNA primase (115–120 kDa) separated from the pea chloroplast DNA polymerase (90 kDa), but is much smaller than chloroplast RNA polymerase. Because of these differences in size, template specificity, sensitivity to inhibitors, and elution characteristics, it is clear that the pea chloroplast DNA primase is an distinct enzyme form RNA polymerase.

In vitro replication activity using the DNA primase fraction required all four rNTPs for optimum activity. The chloroplast DNA primase was capable of priming DNA replication activity on any single-stranded M13 template, but shows a strong preference for M13mp19+2.1. Primers synthesized using M13mp19+2.1 are resistant to DNase I, and range in size from 4 to about 60 nucleotides.

Key words

chloroplasts DNA primase DNA replication Pisum sativum 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • Brent L. Nielsen
    • 1
  • V. K. Rajasekhar
    • 1
  • K. K. Tewari
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Molecular Biology and BiochemistryUniversity of CaliforniaIrvineUSA

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