Yeast DNA polymerase zeta (ζ) is essential for error-free replication past thymine glycol

Robert E. Johnson, Sung Lim Yu, Satya Prakash, Louise Prakash

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

79 Scopus citations


DNA polymerase zeta (Polζ) promotes the mutagenic bypass of DNA lesions in eukaryotes. Genetic studies in Saccharomyces cerevisiae have indicated that relative to the contribution of other pathways, Polζ makes only a modest contribution to lesion bypass. Intriguingly, however, disruption of the REV3 gene, which encodes the catalytic subunit of Polζ, causes early embryonic lethality in mice. Here, we present genetic and biochemical evidence for the requirement of yeast Polζ for predominantly error-free replication past thymine glycol (Tg), a DNA lesion formed frequently by free radical attack. These results raise the possibility that, as in yeast, in higher eukaryotes also, Polζ makes a major contribution to the replicative bypass of Tgs as well as other lesions that block synthesis by replicative DNA polymerases. Such a preeminent role of Polζ in lesion bypass would ensure that rapid cell divisions continue unabated during early embryonic development, thereby minimizing the generation of DNA strand breaks, chromosome aberrations, and the ensuing apoptotic response.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)77-87
Number of pages11
JournalGenes and Development
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2003


  • DNA polymerase ζ
  • Error-free translesion DNA synthesis by Polζ
  • Polζ as an extender
  • Thymine glycol
  • Translesion DNA synthesis
  • Yeast

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Developmental Biology


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