Oxidative damage to DNA has been proposed to have a role in cancer and ageing. Oxygen-free radicals formed during normal aerobic cellular metabolism attack bases in DNA, and 7, 8-dihydro-8-oxoguanine (8-oxoG) is one of the adducts formed. Eukaryotic replicative DNA polymerases replicate DNA containing 8-oxoG by inserting an adenine opposite the lesion; consequently, 8-oxoG is highly mutagenic and causes G:C to T:A transversions. Genetic studies in yeast have indicated a role for mismatch repair in minimizing the incidence of these mutations. In Saccharomyces cerevisiae, deletion of OGG1, encoding a DNA glycosylase that functions in the removal of 8-oxoG when paired with C, causes an increase in the rate of G:C to T:A transversions. The ogg1Delta msh2Delta double mutant displays a higher rate of CAN1S to can1r forward mutations than the ogg1Delta or msh2Delta single mutants, and this enhanced mutagenesis is primarily due to G:C to T:A transversions. The gene RAD30 of S. cerevisiae encodes a DNA polymerase, Poleta, that efficiently replicates DNA containing a cis-syn thymine-thymine (T-T) dimer by inserting two adenines across from the dimer. In humans, mutations in the yeast RAD30 counterpart, POLH, cause the variant form of xeroderma pigmentosum (XP-V), and XP-V individuals suffer from a high incidence of sunlight-induced skin cancers. Here we show that yeast and human POLeta replicate DNA containing 8-oxoG efficiently and accurately by inserting a cytosine across from the lesion and by proficiently extending from this base pair. Consistent with these biochemical studies, a synergistic increase in the rate of spontaneous mutations occurs in the absence of POLeta in the yeast ogg1Delta mutant. Our results suggest an additional role for Poleta in the prevention of internal cancers in humans that would otherwise result from the mutagenic replication of 8-oxoG in DNA.
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