Promiscuous DNA synthesis by human DNA polymerase θ

Nucleic Acids Res. 2012 Mar;40(6):2611-22. doi: 10.1093/nar/gkr1102. Epub 2011 Dec 1.


The biological role of human DNA polymerase θ (POLQ) is not yet clearly defined, but it has been proposed to participate in several cellular processes based on its translesion synthesis capabilities. POLQ is a low-fidelity polymerase capable of efficient bypass of blocking lesions such as abasic sites and thymine glycols as well as extension of mismatched primer termini. Here, we show that POLQ possesses a DNA polymerase activity that appears to be template independent and allows efficient extension of single-stranded DNA as well as duplex DNA with either protruding or multiply mismatched 3'-OH termini. We hypothesize that this DNA synthesis activity is related to the proposed role for POLQ in the repair or tolerance of double-strand breaks.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Base Pair Mismatch
  • DNA / biosynthesis*
  • DNA Breaks, Double-Stranded
  • DNA Polymerase theta
  • DNA-Directed DNA Polymerase / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Oligonucleotides / biosynthesis


  • Oligonucleotides
  • DNA
  • DNA-Directed DNA Polymerase