Crystal structure of a Y-family DNA polymerase in action: a mechanism for error-prone and lesion-bypass replication

Cell. 2001 Oct 5;107(1):91-102. doi: 10.1016/s0092-8674(01)00515-3.


Sulfolobus solfataricus P2 DNA polymerase IV (Dpo4) is a DinB homolog that belongs to the recently described Y-family of DNA polymerases, which are best characterized by their low-fidelity synthesis on undamaged DNA templates and propensity to traverse normally replication-blocking lesions. Crystal structures of Dpo4 in ternary complexes with DNA and an incoming nucleotide, either correct or incorrect, have been solved at 1.7 A and 2.1 A resolution, respectively. Despite a conserved active site and a hand-like configuration similar to all known polymerases, Dpo4 makes limited and nonspecific contacts with the replicating base pair, thus relaxing base selection. Dpo4 is also captured in the crystal translocating two template bases to the active site at once, suggesting a possible mechanism for bypassing thymine dimers.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Archaeal Proteins / chemistry
  • Archaeal Proteins / genetics
  • Archaeal Proteins / metabolism
  • Catalytic Domain
  • Crystallography, X-Ray
  • DNA / chemistry
  • DNA / metabolism
  • DNA Polymerase beta / chemistry*
  • DNA Polymerase beta / genetics
  • DNA Polymerase beta / metabolism*
  • DNA Replication / physiology*
  • DNA-Directed DNA Polymerase / chemistry*
  • DNA-Directed DNA Polymerase / genetics
  • DNA-Directed DNA Polymerase / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Models, Molecular
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Protein Conformation
  • Protein Structure, Tertiary
  • Sequence Alignment
  • Sulfolobus / enzymology*
  • Sulfolobus / genetics


  • Archaeal Proteins
  • DNA
  • DNA Polymerase beta
  • DNA-Directed DNA Polymerase

Associated data

  • PDB/1JX4
  • PDB/1JXL