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Cell. 2001 Dec 28;107(7):917-27.

Yeast DNA polymerase eta utilizes an induced-fit mechanism of nucleotide incorporation.

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Sealy Center for Molecular Science, University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, 6.104 Blocker Medical Research Building, 11th and Mechanic Streets, Galveston, TX 77555, USA.


DNA polymerase eta (Poleta) is unique among eukaryotic DNA polymerases in its proficient ability to replicate through distorting DNA lesions, and Poleta synthesizes DNA with a low fidelity. Here, we use pre-steady-state kinetics to investigate the mechanism of nucleotide incorporation by Poleta and show that it utilizes an induced-fit mechanism to selectively incorporate the correct nucleotide. Poleta discriminates poorly between the correct and incorrect nucleotide at both the initial nucleotide binding step and at the subsequent induced-fit conformational change step, which precedes the chemical step of phosphodiester bond formation. This property enables Poleta to bypass lesions with distorted DNA geometries, and it bestows upon the enzyme a low fidelity.

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