Action of mitochondrial DNA polymerase gamma at sites of base loss or oxidative damage

J Biol Chem. 1995 Apr 21;270(16):9202-6. doi: 10.1074/jbc.270.16.9202.


Mitochondrial DNA is subject to oxidative damage generating 7,8-dihydro-8-oxo-2'-deoxyguanosine (8-oxo-dG) residues and to spontaneous or induced base loss generating abasic sites. Synthetic oligonucleotides containing these lesions were prepared and used as templates to determine their effects on the action of Xenopus laevis DNA polymerase gamma. An analogue of an abasic site in DNA, tetrahydrofuran, was found to inhibit elongation by DNA polymerase gamma. When the DNA polymerase was able to complete translesional synthesis, a dA residue was incorporated opposite the abasic site. In contrast, elongation by DNA polymerase gamma was not inhibited by an 8-oxo-dG residue in the template strand. The polymerase inserted dA opposite 8-oxo-dG in approximately 27% of the extended products. The effects of these lesions on the 3'-->5' exonuclease proofreading activity of DNA polymerase gamma were also investigated. The 3'-->5' exonuclease activity excised any of the four normal bases positioned opposite either a tetrahydrofuran residue or 8-oxo-dG, suggesting that proofreading may not play a major role in avoiding misincorporation at abasic sites or 8-oxo-dG residues in the template. Thus, both of these lesions have the prospect of causing high rates of mutation during mtDNA replication.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • 8-Hydroxy-2'-Deoxyguanosine
  • Animals
  • Base Sequence
  • DNA Damage*
  • DNA Polymerase III / physiology*
  • DNA Replication
  • DNA, Mitochondrial / metabolism*
  • Deoxyguanosine / analogs & derivatives
  • Deoxyguanosine / pharmacology
  • Female
  • Mitochondria / enzymology*
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Xenopus laevis


  • DNA, Mitochondrial
  • 8-Hydroxy-2'-Deoxyguanosine
  • DNA Polymerase III
  • Deoxyguanosine