The translesion DNA polymerase ζ plays a major role in Ig and bcl-6 somatic hypermutation

Hong Zan, Atsumasa Komori, Zongdong Li, Andrea Cerutti, András Schaffer, Martin F. Flajnik, Marilyn Diaz, Paolo Casali

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

186 Scopus citations


Ig somatic mutations would be introduced by a polymerase (pol) while repairing DNA outside main DNA replication. We show that human B cells constitutively express the translesion pol ζ, which effectively extends DNA past mismatched bases (mispair extender), and pol η, which bypasses DNA lesions in an error-free fashion. Upon B cell receptor (BCR) engagement and coculture with activated CD4+ T cells, these lymphocytes upregulated pol ζ, downregulated pol η, and mutated the Ig and bcl-6 genes. Inhibition of the pol ζ REV3 catalytic subunit by specific phosphorothioate-modified oligonucleotides impaired Ig and bcl-6 hypermutation and UV damage-induced DNA mutagenesis, without affecting cell cycle or viability. Thus, pol ζ plays a critical role in Ig and bcl-6 hypermutation, perhaps facilitated by the downregulation of pol η.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)643-653
Number of pages11
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Infectious Diseases


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