PrimPol is a novel Primase–Polymerase that synthesizes RNA and DNA primers de novo and extents from these primers as a DNA polymerase. Animal PrimPol is involved in nuclear and mitochondrial DNA replication by virtue of its translesion DNA synthesis (TLS) and repriming activities. Here we report that the plant model Arabidopsis thaliana encodes a functional PrimPol (AtPrimPol). AtPrimPol is a low fidelity and a TLS polymerase capable to bypass DNA lesions, like thymine glycol and abasic sites, by incorporating directly across these lesions or by skipping them. AtPrimPol is also an efficient primase that preferentially recognizes the single-stranded 3′-GTCG-5′ DNA sequence, where the 3′-G is cryptic. AtPrimPol is the first DNA polymerase that localizes in three cellular compartments: nucleus, mitochondria, and chloroplast. In vitro, AtPrimPol synthesizes primers that are extended by the plant organellar DNA polymerases and this reaction is regulated by organellar single-stranded binding proteins. Given the constant exposure of plants to endogenous and exogenous DNA-damaging agents and the enzymatic capabilities of lesion bypass and re-priming of AtPrimPol, we postulate a predominant role of this enzyme in avoiding replication fork collapse in all three plant genomes, both as a primase and as a TLS polymerase.
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