The proliferating cell nuclear antigen, PCNA, has recently been identified as the polymerase delta accessory protein. PCNA is essential for cellular DNA synthesis and is also required for the in vitro replication of simian virus 40 (SV40) DNA where it acts to coordinate leading and lagging strand synthesis at the replication fork. The cDNA for rat PCNA was cloned into a series of bacterial expression vectors and the resulting protein used to immunize mice. Eleven new monoclonal antibodies to PCNA have been isolated and characterized. Some of the antibodies recognize epitopes conserved from man to fission yeast. Immunocytochemical analysis of primate epithelial cell lines showed that the antibodies recognized antigenically distinct forms of PCNA and that these forms were localized to different compartments of the nucleus. One antibody reacted exclusively with PCNA in the nucleolus. These results suggest that the PCNA protein may fulfil several separate roles in the cell nucleus associated with changes in its antigenic structure.

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