PrimPol is a DNA damage tolerant polymerase displaying both translesion synthesis (TLS) and (re)-priming properties. This led us to study the consequences of a PrimPol deficiency in tolerating mutagenic lesions induced by members of the APOBEC/AID family of cytosine deaminases. Interestingly, during somatic hypermutation, PrimPol counteracts the generation of C>G transversions on the leading strand. Independently, mutation analyses in human invasive breast cancer confirmed a pro-mutagenic activity of APOBEC3B and revealed a genome-wide anti-mutagenic activity of PRIMPOL as well as most Y-family TLS polymerases. PRIMPOL especially prevents APOBEC3B targeted cytosine mutations within TpC dinucleotides. As C transversions induced by APOBEC/AID family members depend on the formation of AP-sites, we propose that PrimPol reprimes preferentially downstream of AP-sites on the leading strand, to prohibit error-prone TLS and simultaneously stimulate error-free homology directed repair. These in vivo studies are the first demonstrating a critical anti-mutagenic activity of PrimPol in genome maintenance.
© The Author(s) 2016. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Nucleic Acids Research.