DNA polymerase beta (pol beta) is the only mammalian DNA polymerase identified to date that can catalyze extensive bypass of platinum-DNA adducts in vitro. Previous studies suggest that DNA synthesis by pol beta is distributive on primed single-stranded DNA and processive on gapped DNA. The data presented in this paper provide an analysis of translesion synthesis past cisplatin- and oxaliplatin-DNA adducts by pol beta functioning in both distributive and processive modes using primer extension and steady-state kinetic experiments. Translesion synthesis past Pt-DNA adducts was greater with gapped DNA templates than with single-stranded DNA templates. In the processive mode pol beta did not discriminate between cisplatin and oxaliplatin adducts, while in the distributive mode it displayed about 2-fold increased ability for translesion synthesis past oxaliplatin compared with cisplatin adducts. The differentiation between cisplatin and oxaliplatin adducts resulted from a K(m)-mediated increase in the efficiency of dCTP incorporation across from the 3'-G of oxaliplatin-GG adducts. Rates of misincorporation across platinated guanines determined by the steady-state kinetic assay were higher in reactions with primed single-stranded templates than with gapped DNA and a slight increase in the misincorporation of dTTP across from the 3'-G was found for oxaliplatin compared with cisplatin adducts.