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Journal of Nucleic Acids
Volume 2010 (2010), Article ID 643857, 10 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.4061/2010/643857
Review Article

Translesion Synthesis Polymerases in the Prevention and Promotion of Carcinogenesis

1Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, James Graham Brown Cancer Center, University of Louisville School of Medicine, Louisville, KY 40202, USA
2Department of Medicine (Medical Oncology), James Graham Brown Cancer Center, University of Louisville School of Medicine, Louisville, KY 40202, USA
3Clinical and Translational Research, 505 S. Hancock Street, Louisville, KY 40202, USA

Received 16 June 2010; Accepted 13 August 2010

Academic Editor: Ashis Basu

Copyright © 2010 L. Jay Stallons and W. Glenn McGregor. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

A critical step in the transformation of cells to the malignant state of cancer is the induction of mutations in the DNA of cells damaged by genotoxic agents. Translesion DNA synthesis (TLS) is the process by which cells copy DNA containing unrepaired damage that blocks progression of the replication fork. The DNA polymerases that catalyze TLS in mammals have been the topic of intense investigation over the last decade. DNA polymerase 𝜂 (Pol 𝜂 ) is best understood and is active in error-free bypass of UV-induced DNA damage. The other TLS polymerases (Pol ι, Pol κ, REV1, and Pol ζ) have been studied extensively in vitro, but their in vivo role is only now being investigated using knockout mouse models of carcinogenesis. This paper will focus on the studies of mice and humans with altered expression of TLS polymerases and the effects on cancer induced by environmental agents.