A series of synthetic oligonucleotide primers, annealed at various positions along the lacZ-a region of bacteriophage M13mp9 template, were elongated by purified DNA polymerases in the presence of only 3 of the 4 deoxynucleoside triphosphates to achieve misincorporation at a total of 49 different positions along the template. The newly synthesized strands (containing misincorporated bases) were isolated and sequenced to determine the identity of misincorporated deoxynucleoside monophosphates. The results indicate that the kind of mispairing that occurs during DNA synthesis is greatly influenced by the nucleotide sequence of the template. Transition-type base substitutions predominated overall, but at many template positions, transversion-type base substitutions occurred, most commonly via A.A mispairing. The results of parallel determinations made with Escherichia coli DNA polymerase I (“large fragment” form) and DNA polymerase of Maloney murine leukemia virus indicated that, overall, the identity of polymerase had only a small effect on the kind of misincorporation that occurred at different positions along the template. However, at certain template positions, the nature of mispairing during DNA synthesis was reproducibly affected by differing polymerase active-site environment.
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