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Cell Cycle. 2010 Feb 15;9(4):729-35. Epub 2010 Feb 23.

Multiple two-polymerase mechanisms in mammalian translesion DNA synthesis.

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Department of Biological Chemistry, Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel.


The encounter of replication forks with DNA lesions may lead to fork arrest and/or the formation of single-stranded gaps. A major strategy to cope with these replication irregularities is translesion DNA synthesis (TLS), in which specialized error-prone DNA polymerases bypass the blocking lesions. Recent studies suggest that TLS across a particular DNA lesion may involve as many as four different TLS polymerases, acting in two-polymerase reactions in which insertion by a particular polymerase is followed by extension by another polymerase. Insertion determines the accuracy and mutagenic specificity of the TLS reaction, and is carried out by one of several polymerases such as poleta, polkappa or poliota. In contrast, extension is carried out primarily by polzeta. In cells from XPV patients, which are deficient in TLS across cyclobutane pyrimidine dimers (CPD) due to a deficiency in poleta, TLS is carried out by at least two backup reactions each involving two polymerases: One reaction involves polkappa and polzeta, and the other poliota and polzeta. These mechanisms may also assist poleta in normal cells under an excessive amount of UV lesions.

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