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Environ Mol Mutagen. 2012 Dec;53(9):666-82. doi: 10.1002/em.21745. Epub 2012 Oct 13.

DNA polymerase delta in DNA replication and genome maintenance.

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Department of Pathology, The Joseph Gottstien Memorial Cancer Research Laboratory, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98195-7705, USA.


The eukaryotic genome is in a constant state of modification and repair. Faithful transmission of the genomic information from parent to daughter cells depends upon an extensive system of surveillance, signaling, and DNA repair, as well as accurate synthesis of DNA during replication. Often, replicative synthesis occurs over regions of DNA that have not yet been repaired, presenting further challenges to genomic stability. DNA polymerase δ (pol δ) occupies a central role in all of these processes: catalyzing the accurate replication of a majority of the genome, participating in several DNA repair synthetic pathways, and contributing structurally to the accurate bypass of problematic lesions during translesion synthesis. The concerted actions of pol δ on the lagging strand, pol ϵ on the leading strand, associated replicative factors, and the mismatch repair (MMR) proteins results in a mutation rate of less than one misincorporation per genome per replication cycle. This low mutation rate provides a high level of protection against genetic defects during development and may prevent the initiation of malignancies in somatic cells. This review explores the role of pol δ in replication fidelity and genome maintenance.

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