Exonuclease proofreading by human mitochondrial DNA polymerase.


We have examined the ability of the human mitochondrial DNA polymerase ...
We have examined the ability of the human mitochondrial DNA polymerase to correct errors in DNA sequence using single turnover kinetic methods. The rate of excision of single-stranded DNA ranged from 0.07 to 0.17 x s(-1), depending on the identity of the 3'-base. Excision of the 3'-terminal base from correctly base paired DNA occurred at a rate of 0.05 x s(-1), indicating that the cost of proofreading is minimal, as defined by the ratio of the k(exo) for correctly base-paired DNA divided by the rate of forward polymerization (0.05/37 = 0.14%). Excision of duplex DNA containing 1-7 mismatches was biphasic, and the rate and amplitude of the fast phase increased with the number of mismatches, reaching a maximum of 9 x s(-1). We showed that transfer of DNA from the polymerase to the exonuclease active site and back again occurs through an intramolecular reaction, allowing for a complete cycle of reactions for error correction. For DNA containing a buried mismatch (T:T followed by C:G base pairs), the 3' base was removed at a rate of 3 x s(-1). The addition of nucleotide to the reaction that is identical to the 3' base increased the rate of excision 7-fold to 21 x s(-1). We propose that the free nucleotide enhances the rate of transfer of the DNA to the exonuclease active site by interrupting the correct 3' base pair through interaction with the template base. The exonuclease contribution to fidelity is minimal if the calculation is based on hydrolysis of a single mismatch: (k(exo) + k(pol,over))/(k(pol,over)) = 10, but this value increases to approximately 200 when examining error correction in the presence of nucleotides.




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