Kinetic basis of sugar selection by a Y-family DNA polymerase from Sulfolobus solfataricus P2

Biochemistry. 2010 Nov 30;49(47):10179-86. doi: 10.1021/bi101465n. Epub 2010 Nov 3.


DNA polymerases use either a bulky active site residue or a backbone segment to select against ribonucleotides in order to faithfully replicate cellular genomes. Here, we demonstrated that an active site mutation (Y12A) within Sulfolobus solfataricus DNA polymerase IV (Dpo4) caused an average increase of 220-fold in matched ribonucleotide incorporation efficiency and an average decrease of 9-fold in correct deoxyribonucleotide incorporation efficiency, leading to an average reduction of 2000-fold in sugar selectivity. Thus, the bulky side chain of Tyr12 is important for both ribonucleotide discrimination and efficient deoxyribonucleotide incorporation. Other than synthesizing DNA as the wild-type Dpo4, the Y12A Dpo4 mutant incorporated more than 20 consecutive ribonucleotides into primer/template (DNA/DNA) duplexes, suggesting that this mutant protein possesses both a DNA-dependent DNA polymerase activity and a DNA-dependent RNA polymerase activity. Moreover, the binary and ternary crystal structures of Dpo4 have revealed that this DNA lesion bypass polymerase can bind up to eight base pairs of double-stranded DNA which is entirely in B-type. Thus, the DNA binding cleft of Dpo4 is flexible and can accommodate both A- and B-type oligodeoxyribonucleotide duplexes as well as damaged DNA.

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

  • Catalytic Domain / genetics
  • DNA Polymerase beta / genetics
  • DNA Polymerase beta / metabolism*
  • Deoxyribonucleotides / metabolism*
  • Mutation
  • Substrate Specificity
  • Sulfolobus solfataricus / enzymology


  • Deoxyribonucleotides
  • DNA Polymerase beta