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Mutat Res. 1987 Oct;180(2):137-46.

Base substitution mutagenesis by terminal transferase: its role in somatic mutagenesis.

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Institute of Environmental Medicine, New York University Medical Center, NY 10016.


We have addressed the possibility of terminal transferase involvement in somatic mutagenesis and the creation of N-region diversity, by measuring the ability of TdT to enhance single-base substitution mutagenesis during in vitro DNA synthesis. Using 3 independent assays we find that terminal transferase produces only a small increase in base-substitution mutagenesis when assayed in the presence of DNA polymerase-beta. In the presence of either polymerase-alpha or E. coli polymerase-I, however, no detectable increase in TdT-induced mutagenesis is seen. Furthermore, in an assay capable of detecting a variety of mutational events, terminal transferase primarily produces complex addition/deletion mutations, as well as a few multiple, tightly-clustered, single-base mutations. We conclude that the majority of the scattered single-base changes that occur during antibody gene differentiation are not catalyzed by terminal transferase, but instead result from another error-prone DNA synthetic process (possibly utilizing DNA polymerase-beta).

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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