Lesion bypass by human DNA polymerase mu reveals a template-dependent, sequence-independent nucleotidyl transferase activity.

Abstract:

DNA polymerase mu (pol mu), which is related to terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase and DNA polymerase beta, is thought to be involved in non-homologous end joining and V(D)J recombination. Pol mu is induced by ionizing radiation and exhibits low fidelity. Analysis of translesion replication by purified human pol mu revealed that it bypasses a synthetic abasic site with high efficiency, using primarily a misalignment mechanism. It can also replicate across two tandem abasic sites, using the same mechanism. Pol mu extends primers whose 3'-terminal nucleotides are located opposite the abasic site. Most remarkably, this extension occurs via a mode of nucleotidyl transferase activity, which does not depend on the sequence of the template. This is not due to simple terminal nucleotidyl transferase activity, because pol mu is unable to add dNTPs to an oligo(dT)29 primer or to a blunt end duplex oligonucleotide under standard conditions. Thus, pol mu is a dual mode DNA-synthesizing enzyme, which can act as either a classical DNA polymerase or as a non-canonical, template-dependent, but sequence-independent nucleotidyl transferase. To our knowledge, this is the first report on a DNA-synthesizing enzyme with such properties. These activities may be required for its function in non-homologous end joining in the processing of DNA ends prior to ligation.

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