Activity and fidelity of human DNA polymerase α depend on primer structure.

Publication Type:

Journal Article


J Biol Chem (2018)


<p>DNA polymerase α (Polα) plays an important role in genome replication. In a complex with primase, Polα synthesizes chimeric RNA-DNA primers necessary for replication of both chromosomal DNA strands. During RNA primer extension with deoxyribonucleotides, Polα needs to use double-stranded helical substrates having different structures. Here, we provide a detailed structure-function analysis of human Polα&#39;s interaction with dNTPs and DNA templates primed with RNA, chimeric RNA-DNA, or DNA. We report the crystal structures of two ternary complexes of the Polα catalytic domain containing dCTP, a DNA template, and either a DNA or an RNA primer. Unexpectedly, in the ternary complex with a DNA:DNA duplex and dCTP, the &quot;fingers&quot; subdomain of Polα is in the open conformation. Polα induces conformational changes in the DNA and hybrid duplexes to produce the universal double helix form. Pre-steady state kinetic studies indicated for both duplex types that chemical catalysis rather than product release is the rate-limiting step. Moreover, human Polα extended DNA primers with higher efficiency but lower processivity than it did with RNA and chimeric primers. Polα has a substantial propensity to make errors during DNA synthesis, and we observed that its fidelity depends on the type of sugar at the primer 3&#39;-end. A detailed structural comparison of Polα with other replicative DNA polymerases disclosed common features and some differences, which may reflect the specialization of each polymerase in genome replication.</p>

4QCL, 6AS7