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Biochimie. 2003 Nov;85(11):1123-32.

Xeroderma pigmentosum variant and error-prone DNA polymerases.

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  • 1Genome Damage and Stability Centre, University of Sussex, Falmer, BN1 9RQ Brighton, UK.


Replicative DNA synthesis is a faithful event which requires undamaged DNA and high fidelity DNA polymerases. If unrepaired damage remains in the template DNA during replication, specialised low fidelity DNA polymerases synthesises DNA past lesions (translesion synthesis, TLS). Current evidence suggests that the polymerase switch from replicative to translesion polymerases might be mediated by post-translational modifications involving ubiquitination processes. One of these TLS polymerases, polymerase eta carries out TLS past UV photoproducts and is deficient in the variant form of xeroderma pigmentosum (XP-V). The dramatic proneness to skin cancer of XP-V individuals highlights the importance of this DNA polymerase in cancer avoidance. The UV hypermutability of XP-V cells suggests that, in the absence of a functional poleta, UV-induced lesions are bypassed by inaccurate DNA polymerase(s) which remain to be identified.

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