The proofreading activity of Pfprex from Plasmodium falciparum can prevent mutagenesis of the apicoplast genome by oxidized nucleotide

The DNA polymerase module of the Pfprex enzyme (PfpPol) is responsible for duplication of the genome of the apicoplast organelle in the malaria parasite. We show that PfpPol can misincorporate oxidized nucleotides such as 8oxodGTP opposite dA. This event gives rise to transversion mutations that are known to lead to adverse physiological outcomes. The apicoplast genome is particularly vulnerable to the harmful effects of 8oxodGTP due to very high AT content (~ 87%). We show that the proofreading activity of PfpPol has the unique ability to remove the oxidized nucleotide from the primer terminus. Due to this property, the proofreading domain of PfpPol is able to prevent mutagenesis of the AT-rich apicoplast genome and neutralize the deleterious genotoxic effects of ROS generated in the apicoplast due to normal metabolic processes. The proofreading activity of the Pfprex enzyme may, therefore, represent an attractive target for therapeutic intervention. Also, a survey of DNA repair pathways shows that the observed property of Pfprex constitutes a novel form of dynamic error correction wherein the repair of promutagenic damaged nucleotides is concomitant with DNA replication.

Dr. Deepak Nair, Laboratory of Molecular determinants of genomic integrity and plasticity

Minakshi SharmaNaveen Narayanan & Deepak T. Nair. Scientific Reports volume 10, Article number: 11157 (2020)

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