Quantitative analysis of the mutagenic potential of 1-aminopyrene-DNA adduct bypass catalyzed by Y-family DNA polymerases

Mutat Res. 2012 Sep 1;737(1-2):25-33. doi: 10.1016/j.mrfmmm.2012.08.002. Epub 2012 Aug 14.


N-(Deoxyguanosin-8-yl)-1-aminopyrene (dG(AP)) is the predominant nitro polyaromatic hydrocarbon product generated from the air pollutant 1-nitropyrene reacting with DNA. Previous studies have shown that dG(AP) induces genetic mutations in bacterial and mammalian cells. One potential source of these mutations is the error-prone bypass of dG(AP) lesions catalyzed by the low-fidelity Y-family DNA polymerases. To provide a comparative analysis of the mutagenic potential of the translesion DNA synthesis (TLS) of dG(AP), we employed short oligonucleotide sequencing assays (SOSAs) with the model Y-family DNA polymerase from Sulfolobus solfataricus, DNA Polymerase IV (Dpo4), and the human Y-family DNA polymerases eta (hPolη), kappa (hPolκ), and iota (hPolι). Relative to undamaged DNA, all four enzymes generated far more mutations (base deletions, insertions, and substitutions) with a DNA template containing a site-specifically placed dG(AP). Opposite dG(AP) and at an immediate downstream template position, the most frequent mutations made by the three human enzymes were base deletions and the most frequent base substitutions were dAs for all enzymes. Based on the SOSA data, Dpo4 was the least error-prone Y-family DNA polymerase among the four enzymes during the TLS of dG(AP). Among the three human Y-family enzymes, hPolκ made the fewest mutations at all template positions except opposite the lesion site. hPolκ was significantly less error-prone than hPolι and hPolη during the extension of dG(AP) bypass products. Interestingly, the most frequent mutations created by hPolι at all template positions were base deletions. Although hRev1, the fourth human Y-family enzyme, could not extend dG(AP) bypass products in our standing start assays, it preferentially incorporated dCTP opposite the bulky lesion. Collectively, these mutagenic profiles suggest that hPolk and hRev1 are the most suitable human Y-family DNA polymerases to perform TLS of dG(AP) 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

  • DNA Adducts*
  • DNA-Directed DNA Polymerase / metabolism*
  • Mutagens / toxicity*
  • Pyrenes / toxicity*
  • Sulfolobus solfataricus / genetics


  • DNA Adducts
  • Mutagens
  • Pyrenes
  • DNA-Directed DNA Polymerase
  • POLK protein, human
  • 1-aminopyrene