DNA Replication Fidelity


DNA polymerases are proteins that catalyse the polymerization of DNA. Fidelity in this process refers to the ability of the polymerase to avoid or to correct errors in the newly synthesized DNA strand.

Keywords: DNA polymerase; DNA replication; replicational fidelity; Y family polymerases; xeroderma pigmentosum; mutation

Figure 1.

Steps of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) polymerization depicting the correct incorporation of thymidine 5′‐monophosphate. The ‘thumb’, ‘palm’ and ‘finger’ domains are shown in purple, blue and orange respectively. The green domain represents the ‘PAD’ or ‘little finger’ domain that has thus far been identified only in low‐fidelity Y family DNA polymerases. The red transluscent domain (in two of the drawings) represents the 3′→5′ exonuclease domain, which is not present in Y family polymerases. ‘†’ represents the transition state for enzyme catalysis. dTTP: thymidine 5′‐triphosphate; PPi: pyrophosphate; dTMP: thymidine 5′‐monophosphate. The curved black arrows denote movement of the ‘thumb’ and ‘fingers’ domains.



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Further Reading

Franklin MC, Wang J and Steitz TA (2001) Structure of the replicating complex of a pol alpha family DNA polymerase. Cell 105: 657–667.

Fisher PA (1994) Enzymologic mechanism of replicative DNA polymerases in higher eukaryotes. Progress in Nucleic Acid Research in Molecular Biology 47: 371–397.

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Loeb LA (1998) Cancer cells exhibit a mutator phenotype. Advances in Cancer Research 72: 25–56.

Radman M (1998) DNA replication: one strand may be more equal. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 95: 9718–9719.

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Friedberg, Errol C, and Fischhaber, Paula L(Jan 2006) DNA Replication Fidelity. In: eLS. John Wiley & Sons Ltd, Chichester. http://www.els.net [doi: 10.1038/npg.els.0006172]