Promiscuous DNA synthesis by human DNA polymerase θ

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The biological role of human DNA polymerase θ (POLQ) is not yet clearly defined, but it has been proposed to participate in several cellular processes based on its translesion synthesis capabilities. POLQ is a low-fidelity polymerase capable of efficient bypass of blocking lesions such as abasic sites and thymine glycols as well as extension of mismatched primer termini. Here, we show that POLQ possesses a DNA polymerase activity that appears to be template independent and allows efficient extension of single-stranded DNA as well as duplex DNA with either protruding or multiply mismatched 3′-OH termini. We hypothesize that this DNA synthesis activity is related to the proposed role for POLQ in the repair or tolerance of double-strand breaks.

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