A single mutation in human mitochondrial DNA polymerase Pol γA affects both polymerization and proofreading activities of only the holoenzyme

Young Sam Lee, Kenneth A. Johnson, Ian J. Molineux, Y. Whitney Yin

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21 Scopus citations


Common causes of human mitochondrial diseases are mutations affecting DNA polymerase (Pol) γ, the sole polymerase responsible for DNA synthesis in mitochondria. Although the polymerase and exonuclease active sites are located on the catalytic subunit Pol γA, in holoenzyme both activities are regulated by the accessory subunit Pol γB. Several patients with severe neurological and muscular disorders were reported to carry the Pol γA substitutions R232G or R232H, which lie outside of either active site. We report that Arg232 substitutions have no effect on independent Pol γA activities but show major defects in the Pol γA-Pol γB holoenzyme, including decreased polymerase and increased exonuclease activities, the latter with decreased selectivity for mismatches. We show that Pol γB facilitates distinguishing mismatched from base-paired primer termini and that Pol γA Arg232 is essential for mediating this regulatory function of the accessory subunit. This study provides a molecular basis for the disease symptoms exhibited by patients carrying those substitutions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)28105-28116
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number36
StatePublished - Sep 3 2010
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology

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