In eukaryotic cells, DNA replication is carried out by coordinated actions of many proteins, including DNA polymerase δ (pol δ), replication factor C (RFC), proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA) and replication protein A. Here we describe dynamic properties of these proteins in the elongation step on a single-stranded M13 template, providing evidence that pol δ has a distributive nature over the 7 kb of the M13 template, repeating a frequent dissociation-association cycle at growing 3′-hydroxyl ends. Some PCNA could remain at the primer terminus during this cycle, while the remainder slides out of the primer terminus or is unloaded once pol δ has dissociated. RFC remains around the primer terminus through the elongation phase, and could probably hold PCNA from which pol δ has detached, or reload PCNA from solution to restart DNA synthesis. Furthermore, we suggest that a subunit of pol δ, POLD3, plays a crucial role in the efficient recycling of PCNA during dissociation-association cycles of pol δ. Based on these observations, we propose a model for dynamic processes in elongation complexes.
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