DNA polymerases and mutagenesis in human cancers.
Genome Stability and Human Diseases
Sub cellular biochemistry, December 2009
Crespan E, Amoroso A, Maga G, Emmanuele Crespan, Alessandra Amoroso, Giovanni Maga
DNA polymerases (Pols) act as key players in DNA metabolism. These enzymes are the only biological macromolecules able to duplicate the genetic information stored in the DNA and are absolutely required every time this information has to be copied, as during DNA replication or during DNA repair, when lost or damaged DNA sequences have to be replaced with "original" or "correct" copies. In each DNA repair pathway one or more specific Pols are required. A feature of mammalian DNA repair pathways is their redundancy. The failure of one of these pathways can be compensated by another one. However, several DNA lesions require a specific repair pathway for error free repair. In many tumors one or more DNA repair pathways are affected, leading to error prone repair of some kind of lesions by alternatives routes, thus leading to accumulation of mutations and contributing to genomic instability, a common feature of cancer cell. In this chapter, we present the role of each Pol in genome maintenance and highlight the connections between the malfunctioning of these enzymes and cancer progress.
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