DNA replication across blocking lesions occurs by translesion DNA synthesis (TLS), involving a multitude of mutagenic DNA polymerases that operate to protect the mammalian genome. Using a quantitative TLS assay, we identified three main classes of TLS in human cells: two rapid and error-free, and the third slow and error-prone. A single gene, REV3L, encoding the catalytic subunit of DNA polymerase ζ (polζ), was found to have a pivotal role in TLS, being involved in TLS across all lesions examined, except for a TT cyclobutane dimer. Genetic epistasis siRNA analysis indicated that discrete two-polymerase combinations with polζ dictate error-prone or error-free TLS across the same lesion. These results highlight the central role of polζ in both error-prone and error-free TLS in mammalian cells, and show that bypass of a single lesion may involve at least three different DNA polymerases, operating in different two-polymerase combinations.
- DNA damage
- DNA repair
- Lesion bypass
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Immunology and Microbiology(all)