The proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA) is an auxiliary protein of DNA polymerase delta and appears to be needed for both DNA synthesis and DNA repair. It is present in low amount in resting normal human T lymphocytes and, upon mitogenic stimulation with phorbol dibutyrate and ionomycin, begins to increase in mid-G1 phase, approximately 12 to 15 hours before entry into S phase. PCNA continues to increase in amount throughout the cell cycle and remains high in proliferating cultures. PCNA was extracted from activated normal T cells and from the transformed T-lymphoblastoid cell line Jurkat by a method that recovered approximately 98% of total cellular PCNA but yet retained its associations with other proteins. PCNA immunoprecipitates possessed H1 histone kinase activity, which increased in parallel with increasing cellular content of PCNA. Both the cdc2 and cdk2 kinases were found associated with PCNA in normal T cells, in amounts consistent with detected kinase activity. The results indicate that PCNA is not an inhibitory molecule of cdk/cyclin activity. Both normal and transformed T cells contained PCNA in association with cdk2, cdk4, cdk5, and cdk6, with the amount of PCNA associated with these molecules increasing in the order listed. Relatively high amounts of PCNA were also found associated with cyclins D2 and D3, the major cyclin partners of cdk6 in T cells. Though detected in normal cells, PCNA/cdc2 complexes were present in exceedingly low amount, if at all, in Jurkat cells. This cell line appeared to contain more of nearly all of the cdk and cyclin molecules analyzed, but there seemed to be little difference in the patterns of association of these molecules with PCNA in the cell line as compared with normal human T cells.

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