Cellular roles of DNA polymerase beta

Sreerupa Ray, Miriam Rose Menezes, Alireza Senejani, Joann B. Sweasy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Since its discovery and purification in 1971, DNA polymerase ß (Pol ß) is one of the most well-studied DNA polymerases. Pol ß is a key enzyme in the base excision repair (BER) pathway that functions in gap filling DNA synthesis subsequent to the excision of damaged DNA bases. A major focus of our studies is on the cellular roles of Pol ß. We have shown that germline and tumor-associated variants of Pol ß catalyze aberrant BER that leads to genomic instability and cellular transformation. Our studies suggest that Pol ß is critical for the maintenance of genomic stability and that it is a tumor suppressor. We have also shown that Pol ß functions during Prophase I of meiosis. Pol ß localizes to the synaptonemal complex and is critical for removal of the Spo11 complex from the 5' ends of double-strand breaks. Studies with Pol ß mutant mice are currently being undertaken to more clearly understand the function of Pol ß during meiosis. In this review, we will highlight our contributions from our studies of Pol ß germline and cancer-associated variants.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)463-469
Number of pages7
JournalYale Journal of Biology and Medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • DNA polymerase beta
  • Fidelity of DNA synthesis
  • Meiosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology


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