Sunlight causes lesions in DNA that if unrepaired and inaccurately replicated by DNA polymerases yield mutations that result in skin cancer in humans. Two enzymes involved in translesion synthesis (TLS) of UV-induced photolesions are DNA polymerase η (Polη) and polymerase ζ (Polζ), encoded by the RAD30A and REV3 genes, respectively. Previous studies have investigated the TLS roles of these polymerases in human and yeast cells irradiated with monochromatic, short wavelength UVC radiation (254 nm). However, less is known about cellular responses to solar radiation, which is of higher and mixed wavelengths (310-1100 nm) and produces a different spectrum of DNA lesions, including Dewar photoproducts and oxidative lesions. Here we report on the comparative cytotoxic and mutagenic effects of simulated sunlight (SSL) and UVC radiation on yeast wild-type, rad30Δ, rev3Δ and rev3Δ rad30Δ strains. The results with SSL support several previous interpretations on the roles of these two polymerases in TLS of photodimers and (6-4) photoproducts derived from studies with UVC. They further suggest that Pohη participates in the non-mutagenic bypass of SSL-dependent cytosine-containing Dewar photoproducts and 8-oxoguanine, while Polζ is mainly responsible for the mutagenic bypass of all types of Dewar photoproducts. They also suggest that in the absence of Polζ, Polη contributes to UVC- and SSL-induced mutagenesis, possibly by the bypass of photodimers containing deaminated cytosine.
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