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EMBO J. 2000 Jun 15;19(12):3100-9.

Mechanisms of accurate translesion synthesis by human DNA polymerase eta.

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Institute for Molecular and Cellular Biology, Osaka University, and CREST, Japan Science and Technology Corporation, 1-3 Yamada-oka, The Graduate School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Osaka University, 1-6 Yamada-oka, Suita, Osaka 565-0871, Japan.


The XPV (xeroderma pigmentosum variant) gene encodes human DNA polymerase eta (pol eta), which is involved in the replication of damaged DNA. Pol eta catalyzes efficient and accurate translesion synthesis past cis-syn cyclobutane di-thymine lesions. Here we show that human pol eta can catalyze translesion synthesis past an abasic (AP) site analog, N-2-acetylaminofluorene (AAF)-modified guanine, and a cisplatin-induced intrastrand cross-link between two guanines. Pol eta preferentially incorporated dAMP and dGMP opposite AP, and dCMP opposite AAF-G and cisplatin-GG, but other nucleotides were also incorporated opposite these lesions. However, after incorporating an incorrect nucleotide opposite a lesion, pol eta could not continue chain elongation. In contrast, after incorporating the correct nucleotide opposite a lesion, pol eta could continue chain elongation, whereas pol alpha could not. Thus, the fidelity of translesion synthesis by human pol eta relies not only on the ability of this enzyme to incorporate the correct nucleotide opposite a lesion, but also on its ability to elongate only DNA chains that have a correctly incorporated nucleotide opposite a lesion.

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