Substitution of a residue contacting the triphosphate moiety of the incoming nucleotide increases the fidelity of yeast DNA polymerase zeta

Nucleic Acids Res. 2008 Mar;36(5):1731-40. doi: 10.1093/nar/gkn023. Epub 2008 Feb 7.


DNA polymerase zeta (pol zeta), which is required for DNA damage-induced mutagenesis, functions in the error-prone replication of a wide range of DNA lesions. During this process, pol zeta extends from nucleotides incorporated opposite template lesions by other polymerases. Unlike classical polymerases, pol zeta efficiently extends from primer-terminal base pairs containing mismatches or lesions, and it synthesizes DNA with moderate fidelity. Here we describe genetic and biochemical studies of three yeast pol zeta mutant proteins containing substitutions of highly conserved amino acid residues that contact the triphosphate moiety of the incoming nucleotide. The R1057A and K1086A proteins do not complement the rev3Delta mutation, and these proteins have significantly reduced polymerase activity relative to the wild-type protein. In contrast, the K1061A protein partially complements the rev3Delta mutation and has nearly normal polymerase activity. Interestingly, the K1061A protein has increased fidelity relative to wild-type pol zeta and is somewhat less efficient at extending from mismatched primer-terminal base pairs. These findings have important implications both for the evolutionary divergence of pol zeta from classical polymerases and for the mechanism by which this enzyme accommodates distortions in the DNA caused by mismatches and lesions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Amino Acid Substitution
  • DNA-Directed DNA Polymerase / chemistry*
  • DNA-Directed DNA Polymerase / genetics*
  • DNA-Directed DNA Polymerase / metabolism
  • Deoxyribonucleotides / chemistry
  • Deoxyribonucleotides / metabolism
  • Genetic Complementation Test
  • Kinetics
  • Models, Molecular
  • Polyphosphates / metabolism
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae Proteins / chemistry*
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae Proteins / genetics*
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae Proteins / metabolism
  • Sequence Alignment


  • Deoxyribonucleotides
  • Polyphosphates
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae Proteins
  • DNA-Directed DNA Polymerase
  • REV3 protein, S cerevisiae