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Ribonucleotides in DNA newly synthesised in 3T6 cells in vivo


Within the field of DNA replication, considerable interest has focused in recent years on the mechanism of initiation of synthesis of DNA molecules. In vitro replication systems from Escherichia coli have been instrumental in uncovering a priming function for ribonucleotides on the earliest intermediates of DNA polymerisation in vitro and in identifying the proteins involved1–3. In vitro replication systems from mammalian cells that permit the use of the phosphate-transfer method for detection of RNA-DNA junctions as well as direct labelling of the RNA moiety of the molecules have suggested a similar role for ribonucleotides in DNA synthesis in eukaryotes4–8. However, the existence of this mechanism in mammalian cells in vivo has not been established. Here we report the first evidence that a significant proportion of the earliest intermediates in mammalian DNA polymerisation in vivo do, in fact, possess ribonucleotides, presumably because their synthesis was initiated with one or more ribonucleotides.

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Kowalski, J., Denhardt, D. Ribonucleotides in DNA newly synthesised in 3T6 cells in vivo. Nature 281, 704–706 (1979).

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