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Cell. 2001 Oct 5;107(1):91-102.

Crystal structure of a Y-family DNA polymerase in action: a mechanism for error-prone and lesion-bypass replication.

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  • 1Laboratory of Molecular Biology, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA.


Sulfolobus solfataricus P2 DNA polymerase IV (Dpo4) is a DinB homolog that belongs to the recently described Y-family of DNA polymerases, which are best characterized by their low-fidelity synthesis on undamaged DNA templates and propensity to traverse normally replication-blocking lesions. Crystal structures of Dpo4 in ternary complexes with DNA and an incoming nucleotide, either correct or incorrect, have been solved at 1.7 A and 2.1 A resolution, respectively. Despite a conserved active site and a hand-like configuration similar to all known polymerases, Dpo4 makes limited and nonspecific contacts with the replicating base pair, thus relaxing base selection. Dpo4 is also captured in the crystal translocating two template bases to the active site at once, suggesting a possible mechanism for bypassing thymine dimers.

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