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J Biol Chem. 1997 Dec 5;272(49):30899-910.

Characterization of an African swine fever virus 20-kDa DNA polymerase involved in DNA repair.

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Centro de Biología Molecular "Severo Ochoa" (C.S.I.C.-U.A.M.), Universidad Autónoma, Canto Blanco, 28049 Madrid, Spain.


African swine fever virus (ASFV) encodes a novel DNA polymerase, constituted of only 174 amino acids, belonging to the polymerase (pol) X family of DNA polymerases. Biochemical analyses of the purified enzyme indicate that ASFV pol X is a monomeric DNA-directed DNA polymerase, highly distributive, lacking a proofreading 3'-5'-exonuclease, and with a poor discrimination against dideoxynucleotides. A multiple alignment of family X DNA polymerases, together with the extrapolation to the crystal structure of mammalian DNA polymerase beta (pol beta), showed the conservation in ASFV pol X of the most critical residues involved in DNA binding, nucleotide binding, and catalysis of the polymerization reaction. Therefore, the 20-kDa ASFV pol X most likely represents the minimal functional version of an evolutionarily conserved pol beta-type DNA polymerase core, constituted by only the "palm" and "thumb" subdomains. It is worth noting that such an "unfingered" DNA polymerase is able to handle templated DNA polymerization with a considerable high fidelity at the base discrimination level. Base excision repair is considered to be a cellular defense mechanism repairing modified bases in DNA. Interestingly, the fact that ASFV pol X is able to conduct filling of a single nucleotide gap points to a putative role in base excision repair during the ASFV life cycle.

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