Molecular and structural characterization of oxidized ribonucleotide insertion into DNA by human DNA polymerase β

Mallory R. Smith, Khadijeh S. Alnajjar, Nicole M. Hoitsma, Joann B. Sweasy, Bret D. Freudenthal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


During oxidative stress, inflammation, or environmental exposure, ribo- and deoxyribonucleotides are oxidatively modified. 8-Oxo-7,8-dihydro-2′-guanosine (8-oxo-G) is a common oxidized nucleobase whose deoxyribonucleotide form, 8-oxodGTP, has been widely studied and demonstrated to be a mutagenic substrate for DNA polymerases. Guanine ribonucleotides are analogously oxidized to r8-oxo-GTP, which can constitute up to 5% of the rGTP pool. Because ribonucleotides are commonly misinserted into DNA, and 8-oxo-G causes replication errors, we were motivated to investigate how the oxidized ribonucleotide is utilized by DNA polymerases. To do this, here we employed human DNA polymerase β (pol β) and characterized r8-oxo-GTP insertion with DNA substrates containing either a templating cytosine (nonmutagenic) or adenine (mutagenic). Our results show that polβ has a diminished catalytic efficiency for r8-oxo-GTP compared with canonical deoxyribonucleotides but that r8-oxo-GTP is inserted mutagenically at a rate similar to those of other common DNA replication errors (i.e. ribonucleotide and mismatch insertions). Using FRET assays to monitor conformational changes of pol β with r8-oxo-GTP, we demonstrate impaired pol β closure that correlates with a reduced insertion efficiency. X-ray crystallographic analyses revealed that, similar to 8-oxo-dGTP, r8-oxo-GTP adopts an anti conformation opposite a templating cytosine and a syn conformation opposite adenine. However, unlike 8-oxo-dGTP, r8-oxo-GTP did not form a planar base pair with either templating base. These results suggest that r8-oxo-GTP is a potential mutagenic substrate for DNA polymerases and provide structural insights into how r8-oxo-GTP is processed by DNA polymerases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1613-1622
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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