Indexed on: 03 Sep '04Published on: 03 Sep '04Published in: Molecular Microbiology
DNA polymerases of the X family have been implicated in a variety of DNA repair processes in eukaryotes. Here we show that Deinococcus radiodurans, a highly radioresistant bacterium able to mend hundreds of radiation-induced double-stranded DNA breaks, expresses a DNA polymerase belonging to the X family. This novel bacterial polymerase, named PolX(Dr), was identified as the product of the Deinococcal DR0467 gene. The purified PolX(Dr) protein possesses a DNA polymerase activity that is stimulated by MnCl2, a property of the X family DNA polymerases. Antibodies raised against PolX(Dr) recognized human pol lambda, rat pol beta and yeast Pol4 and, conversely, antibodies raised against these proteins recognized PolX(Dr). This immunological cross-reactivity suggests a high degree of structural conservation among the polymerases of the X family. Lack of PolX(Dr) reduced the rate of repair of double-stranded DNA breaks and increased cell sensitivity to gamma-rays. PolX(Dr) thus appears to play an important role in double-stranded DNA break repair in D. radiodurans.