Trading places: how do DNA polymerases switch during translesion DNA synthesis?

Mol Cell. 2005 May 27;18(5):499-505. doi: 10.1016/j.molcel.2005.03.032.


The replicative bypass of base damage in DNA (translesion DNA synthesis [TLS]) is a ubiquitous mechanism for relieving arrested DNA replication. The process requires multiple polymerase switching events during which the high-fidelity DNA polymerase in the replication machinery arrested at the primer terminus is replaced by one or more polymerases that are specialized for TLS. When replicative bypass is fully completed, the primer terminus is once again occupied by high-fidelity polymerases in the replicative machinery. This review addresses recent advances in our understanding of DNA polymerase switching during TLS in bacteria such as E. coli and in lower and higher eukaryotes.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bacterial Proteins / genetics
  • Bacterial Proteins / metabolism
  • DNA / metabolism
  • DNA / radiation effects
  • DNA Damage*
  • DNA Replication*
  • DNA-Directed DNA Polymerase / metabolism*
  • Escherichia coli / genetics
  • Escherichia coli / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Models, Genetic
  • Nuclear Proteins
  • Nucleotidyltransferases / metabolism
  • Protein Processing, Post-Translational


  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Nuclear Proteins
  • DNA
  • Nucleotidyltransferases
  • REV1 protein, human
  • DNA-Directed DNA Polymerase