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J Biol Chem. 2010 Jan 8;285(2):1490-9. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M109.062752. Epub 2009 Oct 26.

Each monomer of the dimeric accessory protein for human mitochondrial DNA polymerase has a distinct role in conferring processivity.

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Institute for Cellular and Molecular Biology, University of Texas, Austin, Texas 78712, USA.


The accessory protein polymerase (pol) gammaB of the human mitochondrial DNA polymerase stimulates the synthetic activity of the catalytic subunit. pol gammaB functions by both accelerating the polymerization rate and enhancing polymerase-DNA interaction, thereby distinguishing itself from the accessory subunits of other DNA polymerases. The molecular basis for the unique functions of human pol gammaB lies in its dimeric structure, where the pol gammaB monomer proximal to pol gammaA in the holoenzyme strengthens the interaction with DNA, and the distal pol gammaB monomer accelerates the reaction rate. We further show that human pol gammaB exhibits a catalytic subunit- and substrate DNA-dependent dimerization. By duplicating the monomeric pol gammaB of lower eukaryotes, the dimeric mammalian proteins confer additional processivity to the holoenzyme polymerase.

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