Genotoxic agents that cause double-strand breaks (DSBs) often generate damage at the break termini. Processing enzymes, including nucleases and polymerases, must remove damaged bases and/or add new bases before completion of repair. Artemis is a nuclease involved in mammalian nonhomologous end joining (NHEJ), but in Saccharomyces cerevisiae the nucleases and polymerases involved in NHEJ pathways are poorly understood. Only Pol4 has been shown to fill the gap that may form by imprecise pairing of overhanging 3′ DNA ends. We previously developed a chromosomal DSB assay in yeast to study factors involved in NHEJ. Here, we use this system to examine DNA polymerases required for NHEJ in yeast. We demonstrate that Pol2 is another major DNA polymerase involved in imprecise end joining. Pol1 modulates both imprecise end joining and more complex chromosomal rearrangements, and Pol3 is primarily involved in NHEJ-mediated chromosomal rearrangements. While Pol4 is the major polymerase to fill the gap that may form by imprecise pairing of overhanging 3′ DNA ends, Pol2 is important for the recession of 3′ flaps that can form during imprecise pairing. Indeed, a mutation in the 3′-5′ exonuclease domain of Pol2 dramatically reduces the frequency of end joins formed with initial 3′ flaps. Thus, Pol2 performs a key 3′ end-processing step in NHEJ.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Molecular Biology
- Cancer Research