Interaction between DNA polymerase λ and anticancer nucleoside analogs

Miguel Garcia-Diaz, Michael S. Murray, Thomas A. Kunkel, Kai Ming Chou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

12 Scopus citations


The anticancer activity of cytarabine (AraC) and gemcitabine (dFdC) is thought to result from chain termination after incorporation into DNA. To investigate their incorporation into DNA at atomic level resolution, we present crystal structures of human DNA polymerase λ (Pol λ) bound to gapped DNA and containing either AraC or dFdC paired opposite template dG. These structures reveal that AraC and dFdC can bind within the nascent base pair binding pocket of Pol λ. Although the conformation of the ribose of AraCTP is similar to that of normal dCTP, the conformation of dFdCTP is significantly different. Consistent with these structures, Pol λ efficiently incorporates AraCTP but not dFdCTP. The data are consistent with the possibility that Pol λ could modulate the cytotoxic effect of AraC.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)16874-16879
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number22
StatePublished - May 28 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology

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    Garcia-Diaz, M., Murray, M. S., Kunkel, T. A., & Chou, K. M. (2010). Interaction between DNA polymerase λ and anticancer nucleoside analogs. Journal of Biological Chemistry, 285(22), 16874-16879.