DNA polymerase eta and chemotherapeutic agents

Antioxid Redox Signal. 2011 Jun 15;14(12):2521-9. doi: 10.1089/ars.2010.3673. Epub 2011 Mar 18.


The discovery of human DNA polymerase eta (pol η) has a major impact on the fields of DNA replication/repair fields. Since the discovery of human pol η, a number of new DNA polymerases with the ability to bypass various DNA lesions have been discovered. Among these polymerases, pol η is the most extensively studied lesion bypass polymerase with a defined major biological function, that is, to replicate across the cyclobutane pyrimidine dimers introduced by UV irradiation. Cyclobutane pyrimidine dimer is a major DNA lesion that causes distortion of DNA structure and block the replicative DNA polymerases during DNA replication process. Genetic defects in the pol η gene, Rad30, results in a disease called xeroderma pigmentosum variant. This review focuses on the overall properties of pol η and the mechanism that involved in regulating its activity in cells. In addition, the role of pol η in the action of DNA-targeting anticancer compounds is also discussed.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents / chemistry
  • Antineoplastic Agents / metabolism*
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use
  • DNA Damage
  • DNA Repair
  • DNA Replication
  • DNA-Directed DNA Polymerase / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Molecular Structure
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Neoplasms / genetics
  • Pyrimidine Dimers


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Pyrimidine Dimers
  • DNA-Directed DNA Polymerase
  • Rad30 protein