In vivo, replication forks proceed beyond replication-blocking lesions by way of downstream repriming, generating daughter strand gaps that are subsequently processed by post-replicative repair pathways such as homologous recombination and translesion synthesis (TLS). The way these gaps are filled during TLS is presently unknown. The structure of gap repair synthesis was assessed by sequencing large collections of single DNA molecules that underwent specific TLS events in vivo. The higher error frequency of specialized relative to replicative polymerases allowed us to visualize gap-filling events at high resolution. Unexpectedly, the data reveal that a specialized polymerase, Pol V, synthesizes stretches of DNA both upstream and downstream of a site-specific DNA lesion. Pol V-mediated untargeted mutations are thus spread over several hundred nucleotides, strongly eliciting genetic instability on either side of a given lesion. Consequently, post-replicative gap repair may be a source of untargeted mutations critical for gene diversification in adaptation and evolution. Copyright © 2018 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Journal: Cell reports