Archaeal primase: Bridging the gap between RNA and DNA polymerases

Arnaud A. Bocquier, Lidong Liu, Isaac K.O. Cann, Kayoko Komori, Daisuke Kohda, Yoshizumi Ishino

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

64 Citations (Scopus)


In the evolution of life, DNA replication is a fundamental process, by which species transfer their genetic information to their offspring. DNA polymerases, including bacterial and eukaryotic replicases, are incapable of de novo DNA synthesis. DNA primases are required for this function, which is sine qua non to DNA replication. In Escherichia coli, the DNA primase (DnaG) exists as a monomer and synthesizes a short RNA primer. In Eukarya, however, the primase activity resides within the DNA polymerase α-primase complex (Pol α-pri) on the p48 subunit, which synthesizes the short RNA segment of a hybrid RNA-DNA primer. To date, very little information is available regarding the priming of DNA replication in organisms in Archaea. Available sequenced genomes indicate that the archaeal DNA primase is a homolog of the eukaryotic p48 subunit. Here, we report investigations of a p48-like DNA primase from Pyrococcus furiosus, a hyperthermophilic euryarchaeote. P. furiosus p48-like protein (Pfup41), unlike hitherto-reported primases, does not catalyze by itself the synthesis of short RNA primers but preferentially utilizes deoxynucleotides to synthesize DNA fragments up to several kilobases in length. Pfup41 is the first DNA polymerase that does not require primers for the synthesis of long DNA strands.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)452-456
Number of pages5
JournalCurrent Biology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Mar 20 2001
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Biochemistry,Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences


Dive into the research topics of 'Archaeal primase: Bridging the gap between RNA and DNA polymerases'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this