Two-step error-prone bypass of the (+)- and (-)-trans-anti-BPDE-N2-dG adducts by human DNA polymerases η and κ

Yanbin Zhang, Xiaohua Wu, Dongyu Guo, Olga Rechkoblit, Nicholas E. Geacintov, Zhigang Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

69 Scopus citations


Benzo[a]pyrene is a polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) associated with potent carcinogenic activity. Mutagenesis induced by benzo[a]pyrene DNA adducts is believed to involve error-prone translesion synthesis opposite the lesion. However, the DNA polymerase involved in this process has not been clearly defined in eukaryotes. Here, we provide biochemical evidence suggesting a role for DNA polymerase η (Polη) in mutagenesis induced by benzo[a]pyrene DNA adducts in cells. Purified human Polη predominantly inserted an A opposite a template (+)- and (-)-trans-anti-BPDE-N2-dG, two important DNA adducts of benzo[a]pyrene. Both lesions also dramatically elevated G and T mis-insertion error rates of human Polη. Error-prone nucleotide insertion by human Polη was more efficient opposite the (+)-trans-anti-BPDE-N2-dG adduct than opposite the (-)-trans-anti-BPDE-N2-dG. However, translesion synthesis by human Polη largely stopped opposite the lesion and at one nucleotide downstream of the lesion (+1 extension). The limited extension synthesis of human Polη from opposite the lesion was strongly affected by the stereochemistry of the trans-anti-BPDE-N2-dG adducts, the nucleotide opposite the lesion, and the sequence context 5′ to the lesion. By combining the nucleotide insertion activity of human Polη and the extension synthesis activity of human Polκ, effective error-prone lesion bypass was achieved in vitro in response to the (+)- and (-)-trans-anti-BPDE-N2-dG DNA adducts.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)23-35
Number of pages13
JournalMutation Research - Fundamental and Molecular Mechanisms of Mutagenesis
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Dec 29 2002

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported NIH grants CA92528 (Z.W.) and CA20851 (N.E.G.).


  • Benzo[a]pyrene
  • DNA adducts
  • Lesion bypass
  • Mutagenesis
  • Polymerase η
  • Polymerase κ
  • Translesion synthesis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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