DNA polymerase proofreading is a spell-checking activity that enables DNA polymerases to remove newly made nucleotide incorporation errors from the primer terminus before further primer extension and also prevents translesion synthesis. DNA polymerase proofreading improves replication fidelity approximately 100-fold, which is required by many organisms to prevent unacceptably high, life threatening mutation loads. DNA polymerase proofreading has been studied by geneticists and biochemists for >35 years. A historical perspective and the basic features of DNA polymerase proofreading are described here, but the goal of this review is to present recent advances in the elucidation of the proofreading pathway and to describe roles of DNA polymerase proofreading beyond mismatch correction that are also important for maintaining genome stability.
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