DNA and Chromosomes
- Eukaryotic DNA polymerase β (Pol β) plays an important role in cellular DNA repair, as it fills short gaps in dsDNA that result from removal of damaged bases. Since defects in DNA repair may lead to cancer and genetic instabilities, Pol β has been extensively studied, especially its mechanisms for substrate binding and a fidelity-related conformational change referred to as “fingers closing.” Here, we applied single-molecule FRET to measure distance changes associated with DNA binding and prechemistry fingers movement of human Pol β.
- During oxidative stress, inflammation, or environmental exposure, ribo- and deoxyribonucleotides are oxidatively modified. 8-Oxo-7,8-dihydro-2′-guanosine (8-oxo-G) is a common oxidized nucleobase whose deoxyribonucleotide form, 8-oxo-dGTP, has been widely studied and demonstrated to be a mutagenic substrate for DNA polymerases. Guanine ribonucleotides are analogously oxidized to r8-oxo-GTP, which can constitute up to 5% of the rGTP pool. Because ribonucleotides are commonly misinserted into DNA, and 8-oxo-G causes replication errors, we were motivated to investigate how the oxidized ribonucleotide is utilized by DNA polymerases.
- DNA polymerase β (Pol β) is essential for maintaining genomic integrity. During short-patch base excision repair (BER), Pol β incorporates a nucleotide into a single-gapped DNA substrate. Pol β may also function in long-patch BER, where the DNA substrate consists of larger gap sizes or 5′-modified downstream DNA. We have recently shown that Pol β fills small gaps in DNA during microhomology-mediated end-joining as part of a process that increases genomic diversity. Our previous results with single-nucleotide gapped DNA show that Pol β undergoes two pre-catalytic conformational changes upon binding to the correct nucleotide substrate.