MCAT Content / Repair Of Dna / Repair During Replication

Repair during replication

Topic: Repair Of Dna

Most mistakes made during DNA replication are directly corrected by DNA polymerase.

DNA replication is a highly accurate process, but mistakes can occasionally occur, such as when a DNA polymerase inserts an incorrect nucleotide. Uncorrected mistakes may sometimes lead to serious consequences, such as cancer. Most of the mistakes made during DNA replication are promptly corrected by DNA polymerase. DNA polymerase proofreads the base that has just been added by checking whether the newly-added base has paired correctly with the base in the template strand, as shown below. If it is the correct base, the next nucleotide is added. If an incorrect base has been added, the enzyme makes a cut at the phosphodiester bond and releases the incorrect nucleotide. This is performed by the exonuclease action of DNA polymerase. Once the incorrect nucleotide has been removed, replication continue.

Key Points

• DNA polymerase proofreads the nucleotides added to the new strand of the DNA during replication.

• If an incorrect nucleotide is added during replication, it can be removed by the exonuclease activity of DNA polymerase.

Key Terms

DNA replication: The process by which DNA is copied in a cell.

DNA polymerase: An enzyme that adds successive nucleotides to a growing DNA strand during DNA replication; this protein also has proofreading and exonuclease activity to ensure the correct nucleotides are added.

Proofread: The ability of DNA polymerase to check if a newly added nucleotide correctly base pairs with its complementary template.

Exonuclease: An enzyme that removes nucleotide by cutting the phosphdiester bond between nucleotides.

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