We have investigated the biochemical basis of the mevalonate dependence of DNA replication. Stimulating quiescent rat hepatoma cells to proliferate in the presence of compactin, an inhibitor of mevalonate synthesis, prevented DNA replication in as many as 80% of these cells. The percentage of cells that failed to replicate DNA increased with the increased duration of quiescence. Aphidicolin-sensitive DNA polymerase and ornithine decarboxylase activities were selectively decreased in compactin-treated cells, whereas RNA and protein synthesis, the level of dihydrofolate reductase and aphidicolin-resistant DNA polymerase activity were unaffected. Adding putrescine, the product of ornithine decarboxylase and the precursor of other polyamines, did not restore DNA replication. Our results demonstrate that the decreased activities of at least two DNA-replication enzymes are among the proximal causes of the failure of mevalonate-deprived cells to synthesize DNA. More importantly, our data indicate that a mevalonate-dependent factor(s) is progressively depleted during quiescence, and that inability to resynthesize this factor(s) may be the ultimate cause of the failure of resting cells to replicate DNA when stimulated to proliferate in the absence of mevalonate.
- © 1992 The Biochemical Society, London