Plant organellar DNA polymerases paralogs exhibit dissimilar nucleotide incorporation fidelity

Víctor M. Ayala-García, Noe Baruch-Torres, Paola L. García-Medel, Luis G. Brieba

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


The coding sequences of plant mitochondrial and chloroplast genomes present a lower mutation rate than the coding sequences of animal mitochondria. However, plant mitochondrial genomes frequently rearrange and present high mutation rates in their noncoding sequences. DNA replication in plant organelles is carried out by two DNA polymerases (DNAP) paralogs. In Arabidopsis thaliana at least one DNAP paralog (AtPolIA or AtPolIB) is necessary for plant viability, suggesting that both genes are partially redundant. To understand how AtPolIs replicate genomes that present low and high mutation rates, we measured their nucleotide incorporation for all 16-base pair combinations in vitro. AtPolIA presents an error rate of 7.26 × 10−5, whereas AtPolIB has an error rate of 5.45 × 10−4. Thus, AtPolIA and AtPolIB are 3.5 and 26-times less accurate than human mitochondrial DNAP γ. The 8-fold difference in fidelity between both AtPolIs results from a higher catalytic efficiency in AtPolIA. Both AtPolIs extend from mismatches and the fidelity of AtPolIs ranks between high fidelity and lesion bypass DNAPs. The different nucleotide incorporation fidelity between AtPolIs predicts a prevalent role of AtPolIA in DNA replication and AtPolIB in DNA repair. We hypothesize that in plant organelles, DNA mismatches generated during DNA replication are repaired via recombination-mediated or DNA mismatch repair mechanisms that selectively target the coding region and that the mismatches generated by AtPolIs may result in the frequent expansion and rearrangements present in plant mitochondrial genomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4005-4018
Number of pages14
JournalFEBS Journal
Issue number21
StatePublished - Nov 2018


  • DNA polymerase
  • fidelity
  • plant organelles
  • replisome
  • single-stranded-binding protein

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


Dive into the research topics of 'Plant organellar DNA polymerases paralogs exhibit dissimilar nucleotide incorporation fidelity'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this