Structural basis of high-fidelity DNA synthesis by yeast DNA polymerase Δ

Michael K. Swan, Robert E. Johnson, Louise Prakash, Satya Prakash, Aneel K. Aggarwal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

173 Scopus citations


DNA polymerase Δ (Pol Δ) is a high-fidelity polymerase that has a central role in replication from yeast to humans. We present the crystal structure of the catalytic subunit of yeast Pol Δ in ternary complex with a template primer and an incoming nucleotide. The structure, determined at 2.0-Å resolution, catches the enzyme in the act of replication, revealing how the polymerase and exonuclease domains are juxtaposed relative to each other and how a correct nucleotide is selected and incorporated. The structure also reveals the 'sensing' interactions near the primer terminus, which signal a switch from the polymerizing to the editing mode. Taken together, the structure provides a chemical basis for the bulk of DNA synthesis in eukaryotic cells and a framework for understanding the effects of cancer-causing mutations in Pol Δ.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)979-986
Number of pages8
JournalNature Structural and Molecular Biology
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Structural Biology
  • Molecular Biology


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