Mutability of DNA polymerase I: implications for the creation of mutant DNA polymerases

DNA Repair (Amst). 2005 Dec 8;4(12):1390-8. doi: 10.1016/j.dnarep.2005.09.006. Epub 2005 Oct 17.


DNA polymerases of the Family A catalyze the addition of deoxynucleotides to a primer with high efficiency, processivity, and selectivity-properties that are critical to their function both in nature and in the laboratory. These polymerases tolerate many amino acid substitutions, even in regions that are evolutionarily conserved. This tolerance can be exploited to create DNA polymerases with novel properties and altered substrate specificities, using rational design and molecular evolution. These efforts have focused mainly on the Family A DNA polymerises -Taq, E. coli Pol I, and T7 - because they are widely utilized in biotechnology today. The redesign of polymerases often requires knowledge of the function of specific residues in the protein, including those located in six evolutionarily conserved regions. The most well characterized of these are motifs A and B, which regulate the fidelity of replication and the incorporation of nucleotide analogs such as dideoxynucleotides. Regions that remain to be more thoroughly characterized are motif C, which is critical for catalysis, and motifs 1, 2 and 6, all of which bind to DNA primer or template. Several recently identified mutants with abilities to incorporate nucleotides with bulky adducts have mutations that are not located within conserved regions and warrant further study. Analysis of these mutants will help advance our understanding of how DNA polymerases select bases with high fidelity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Motifs
  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Conserved Sequence
  • DNA Polymerase I / chemistry*
  • DNA Polymerase I / genetics*
  • DNA Polymerase I / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Mutation / genetics*
  • Protein Structure, Tertiary
  • Substrate Specificity


  • DNA Polymerase I