Influence of local sequence context on damaged base conformation in human DNA polymerase iota: molecular dynamics studies of nucleotide incorporation opposite a benzo[a]pyrene-derived adenine lesion

Nucleic Acids Res. 2009 Nov;37(21):7095-109. doi: 10.1093/nar/gkp745.


Human DNA polymerase iota is a lesion bypass polymerase of the Y family, capable of incorporating nucleotides opposite a variety of lesions in both near error-free and error-prone bypass. With undamaged templating purines polymerase iota normally favors Hoogsteen base pairing. Polymerase iota can incorporate nucleotides opposite a benzo[a]pyrene-derived adenine lesion (dA*); while mainly error-free, the identity of misincorporated bases is influenced by local sequence context. We performed molecular modeling and molecular dynamics simulations to elucidate the structural basis for lesion bypass. Our results suggest that hydrogen bonds between the benzo[a]pyrenyl moiety and nearby bases limit the movement of the templating base to maintain the anti glycosidic bond conformation in the binary complex in a 5'-CAGA*TT-3' sequence. This facilitates correct incorporation of dT via a Watson-Crick pair. In a 5'-TTTA*GA-3' sequence the lesion does not form these hydrogen bonds, permitting dA* to rotate around the glycosidic bond to syn and incorporate dT via a Hoogsteen pair. With syn dA*, there is also an opportunity for increased misincorporation of dGTP. These results expand our understanding of the versatility and flexibility of polymerase iota and its lesion bypass functions in humans.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Base Pair Mismatch
  • Base Pairing
  • Base Sequence
  • Benzopyrenes / chemistry*
  • Carcinogens, Environmental / chemistry*
  • Computer Simulation
  • DNA Adducts / chemistry*
  • DNA Damage*
  • DNA-Directed DNA Polymerase / chemistry*
  • DNA-Directed DNA Polymerase / metabolism
  • Deoxyadenine Nucleotides / chemistry
  • Deoxycytosine Nucleotides / chemistry
  • Deoxyguanine Nucleotides / chemistry
  • Humans
  • Hydrogen Bonding
  • Magnesium / chemistry
  • Models, Molecular
  • Nucleic Acid Conformation
  • Thymine Nucleotides / chemistry


  • Benzopyrenes
  • Carcinogens, Environmental
  • DNA Adducts
  • Deoxyadenine Nucleotides
  • Deoxycytosine Nucleotides
  • Deoxyguanine Nucleotides
  • Thymine Nucleotides
  • anti-benzo(a)pyrene-dA adduct
  • 2'-deoxycytidine 5'-triphosphate
  • deoxyguanosine triphosphate
  • DNA polymerase iota
  • DNA-Directed DNA Polymerase
  • Magnesium
  • 2'-deoxyadenosine triphosphate
  • thymidine 5'-triphosphate