Bacterial Y-family DNA polymerases are usually classified into DinB (Pol IV), UmuC (the catalytic subunit of Pol V) and ImuB, a catalytically dead essential component of the ImuA-ImuB-DnaE2 mutasome. However, the true diversity of Y-family polymerases is unknown. Furthermore, for most of them the structures are unavailable and interactions are poorly characterized. To gain a better understanding of bacterial Y-family DNA polymerases, we performed a detailed computational study. It revealed substantial diversity, far exceeding traditional classification. We found that a large number of subfamilies feature a C-terminal extension next to the common Y-family region. Unexpectedly, in most C-terminal extensions we identified a region homologous to the N-terminal oligomerization motif of RecA. This finding implies a universal mode of interaction between Y-family members and RecA (or ImuA), in the case of Pol V strongly supported by experimental data. In gram-positive bacteria, we identified a putative Pol V counterpart composed of a Y-family polymerase, a YolD homolog and RecA. We also found ImuA-ImuB-DnaE2 variants lacking ImuA, but retaining active or inactive Y-family polymerase, a standalone ImuB C-terminal domain and/or DnaE2. In summary, our analyses revealed that, despite considerable diversity, bacterial Y-family polymerases share previously unanticipated similarities in their structural domains/motifs and interactions.
© The Author(s) 2019. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Nucleic Acids Research.