Human DNA Polymerase κ Encircles DNA: Implications for Mismatch Extension and Lesion Bypass

Samer Lone, Sharon A. Townson, Sacha N. Uljon, Robert E. Johnson, Amrita Brahma, Deepak T. Nair, Satya Prakash, Louise Prakash, Aneel K. Aggarwal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

196 Scopus citations


Human DNA polymerase κ (Pol κ) is a proficient extender of mispaired primer termini on undamaged DNAs and is implicated in the extension step of lesion bypass. We present here the structure of Pol κ catalytic core in ternary complex with DNA and an incoming nucleotide. The structure reveals encirclement of the DNA by a unique "N-clasp" at the N terminus of Pol κ, which augments the conventional right-handed grip on the DNA by the palm, fingers, and thumb domains and the PAD and provides additional thermodynamic stability. The structure also reveals an active-site cleft that is constrained by the close apposition of the N-clasp and the fingers domain, and therefore can accommodate only a single Watson-Crick base pair. Together, DNA encirclement and other structural features help explain Pol κ's ability to extend mismatches and to promote replication through various minor groove DNA lesions, by extending from the nucleotide incorporated opposite the lesion by another polymerase.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)601-614
Number of pages14
JournalMolecular cell
Issue number4
StatePublished - Feb 23 2007


  • DNA

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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