- Classical DNA and RNA polymerase (pol) enzymes have defined roles with their respective substrates, but several pols have been found to have multiple functions. We reported previously that purified human DNA pol η (hpol η) can incorporate both deoxyribonucleoside triphosphates (dNTPs) and ribonucleoside triphosphates (rNTPs) and can use both DNA and RNA as substrates. X-ray crystal structures revealed that two pol η residues, Phe-18 and Tyr-92, behave as steric gates to influence sugar selectivity.
- Ribonucleotides are the natural analogs of deoxyribonucleotides, which can be misinserted by DNA polymerases, leading to the most abundant DNA lesions in genomes. During replication, DNA polymerases tolerate patches of ribonucleotides on the parental strands to different extents. The majority of human DNA polymerases have been reported to misinsert ribonucleotides into genomes. However, only PrimPol, DNA polymerase α, telomerase, and the mitochondrial human DNA polymerase (hpol) γ have been shown to tolerate an entire RNA strand.
- DNA polymerase (pol) ι is a Y-family polymerase involved in translesion synthesis, exhibiting higher catalytic activity with Mn2+ than Mg2+. The human germline R96G variant impairs both Mn2+-dependent and Mg2+-dependent activities of pol ι, whereas the Δ1–25 variant selectively enhances its Mg2+-dependent activity. We analyzed pre-steady-state kinetic and structural effects of these two metal ions and genetic variations on pol ι using pol ι core (residues 1–445) proteins. The presence of Mn2+ (0.15 mm) instead of Mg2+ (2 mm) caused a 770-fold increase in efficiency (kpol/Kd,dCTP) of pol ι for dCTP insertion opposite G, mainly due to a 450-fold decrease in Kd,dCTP.
- 1,N6-Ethenodeoxyadenosine (1,N6-ϵdA) is the major etheno lesion formed in the reaction of DNA with epoxides substituted with good leaving groups (e.g. vinyl chloride epoxide). This lesion is also formed endogenously in DNA from lipid oxidation. Recombinant human DNA polymerase η (hpol η) can replicate oligonucleotide templates containing 1,N6-ϵdA. In steady-state kinetic analysis, hpol η preferred to incorporate dATP and dGTP, compared with dTTP. Mass spectral analysis of incorporation products also showed preferred purine (A, G) incorporation and extensive −1 frameshifts, suggesting pairing of the inserted purine and slippage before further replication.