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Mutat Res. 2002 Nov 30;509(1-2):23-34.

Replication of damaged DNA in mammalian cells: new solutions to an old problem.

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Genome Damage and Stability Centre, University of Sussex, Falmer, Brighton BN1 9RQ, UK.


All cells need not only to remove damage from their DNA, but also to be able to replicate DNA containing unrepaired damage. In mammalian cells, the major process by which cells are able to replicate damaged templates is translesion synthesis, the direct synthesis of DNA past altered bases. Crucial to this process is a series of recently discovered DNA polymerases. Most of them belong to a new family of polymerases designated the Y-family, which have conserved sequences in the catalytic N-terminal half of the proteins. These polymerases have different efficiencies and specificities in vitro depending on the type of damage in the template.One of them, DNA polymerase eta, is defective in xeroderma pigmentosum variants, and overwhelming evidence suggests that this is the polymerase that carries out translesion synthesis past UV-induced cyclobutane pyrimidine dimers in vivo. DNA polymerase eta is localised in replication factories during DNA replication and accumulates at sites of stalled replication forks. Many studies have been carried out on the properties of the other polymerases in vitro, but there is as yet very little evidence for their specific roles in vivo.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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