Repair of DNA interstrand cross-links in mammalian cells involves several biochemically distinctive processes, including the release of one of the cross-linked strands and translesion DNA synthesis (TLS). In this report, we investigated the in vitro TLS activity of a psoralen DNA interstrand cross-link by three DNA repair polymerases, DNA polymerases β, κ, and l. DNA polymerase β is capable of bypassing a psoralen cross-link with a low efficiency. Cell extracts prepared from DNA polymerase β knockout mouse embryonic fibroblasts showed a reduced bypass activity of the psoralen cross-link, and purified DNA polymerase β restored the bypass activity. In addition, DNA polymerase l misincorporated thymine across the psoralen cross-link and DNA polymerase κ extended these mispaired primer ends, suggesting that DNA polymerase l may serve as an inserter and DNA polymerase κ may play a role as an extender in the repair of psoralen DNA interstrand cross-links. The results demonstrated here indicate that multiple DNA polymerases could participate in TLS steps in mammalian DNA interstrand cross-link repair.
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