Escherichia coli DNA polymerase III is responsible for the high level of spontaneous mutations in mutT strains.
Yamada M, Shimizu M, Katafuchi A, Grúz P, Fujii S, Usui Y, Fuchs RP, Nohmi T
Reactive oxygen species induce oxidative damage in DNA precursors, i.e. dNTPs, leading to point mutations upon incorporation. Escherichia coli mutT strains, deficient in the activity hydrolysing 8-oxo-7,8-dihydro-2′-deoxyguanosine 5′-triphosphate (8-oxo-dGTP), display more than a 100-fold higher spontaneous mutation frequency over the wild-type strain. 8-oxo-dGTP induces A to C transversions when misincorporated opposite template A. Here, we report that DNA pol III incorporates 8-oxo-dGTP ≈ 20 times more efficiently opposite template A compared with template C. Single, double or triple deletions of pol I, pol II, pol IV or pol V had modest effects on the mutT mutator phenotype. Only the deletion of all four polymerases led to a 70% reduction of the mutator phenotype. While pol III may account for nearly all 8-oxo-dGTP incorporation opposite template A, it only extends ≈ 30% of them, the remaining 70% being extended by the combined action of pol I, pol II, pol IV or pol V. The unique property of pol III, a C-family DNA polymerase present only in eubacteria, to preferentially incorporate 8-oxo-dGTP opposite template A during replication might explain the high spontaneous mutation frequency in E. coli mutT compared with the mammalian counterparts lacking the 8-oxo-dGTP hydrolysing activities.Lire l‘article