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Mol Cell. 2005 Dec 9;20(5):793-9.

Dual roles for DNA polymerase eta in homologous DNA recombination and translesion DNA synthesis.

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CREST, Japan Science and Technology Agency, Radiation Genetics, Graduate School of Medicine, Kyoto University, Yoshida Konoe, Japan.


Chicken B lymphocyte precursors and DT40 cells diversify their immunoglobulin-variable (IgV) genes through homologous recombination (HR)-mediated Ig gene conversion. To identify DNA polymerases that are involved in Ig gene conversion, we created DT40 clones deficient in DNA polymerase eta (poleta), which, in humans, is defective in the variant form of xeroderma pigmentosum (XP-V). Poleta is an error-prone translesion DNA synthesis polymerase that can bypass UV damage-induced lesions and is involved in IgV hypermutation. Like XP-V cells, poleta-disrupted (poleta) clones exhibited hypersensitivity to UV. Remarkably, poleta cells showed a significant decrease in the frequency of both Ig gene conversion and double-strand break-induced HR when compared to wild-type cells, and these defects were reversed by complementation with human poleta. Our findings identify a DNA polymerase that carries out DNA synthesis for physiological HR and provides evidence that a single DNA polymerase can play multiple cellular roles.

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