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The action mechanisms revealed by the biochemical and structural analyses of replicative and translesion synthesis (TLS) DNA polymerases (Pols) are retained in their cellular roles. In this regard, DNA polymerase θ differs from other Pols in that whereas purified Polθ misincorporates an A opposite 1,N 6-ethenodeoxyadenosine (ϵdA) using an abasic-like mode, Polθ performs predominantly error-free TLS in human cells. To test the hypothesis that Polθ adopts a different mechanism for replicating through ϵdA in human cells than in the purified Pol, here we analyze the effects of mutations in the two highly conserved tyrosine residues, Tyr-2387 and Tyr-2391, in the Polθ active site. Our findings that these residues are indispensable for TLS by the purified Pol but are not required in human cells, as well as other findings, provide strong evidence that the Polθ active site is reconfigured in human cells to stabilize ϵdA in the syn conformation for Hoogsteen base pairing with the correct nucleotide. The evidence that a DNA polymerase can configure its active site entirely differently in human cells than in the purified Pol establishes a new paradigm for DNA polymerase function. © 2020 Yoon et al.


Jung-Hoon Yoon, Robert E Johnson, Louise Prakash, Satya Prakash. Genetic evidence for reconfiguration of DNA polymerase θ active site for error-free translesion synthesis in human cells. The Journal of biological chemistry. 2020 May 01;295(18):5918-5927

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PMID: 32169903

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