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Proofreading (biology)

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Title: Proofreading (biology)  
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Subject: DNA replication, Protein synthesis inhibitor, Polymerase chain reaction optimization, Complementarity (molecular biology), Retrovirus
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Proofreading (biology)

The term proofreading is used in genetics to refer to the error-correcting processes, first proposed by John Hopfield and Jacques Ninio, involved in DNA replication, immune system specificity, enzyme-substrate recognition among many other processes that require enhanced specificity. The proofreading mechanisms of Hopfield and Ninio are non-equilibrium active processes that consume ATP to enhance specificity of various biochemical reactions.

In bacteria, all three DNA polymerases (I, II and III) have the ability to proofread, using 3'->5' exonuclease activity. When an incorrect base pair is recognized, DNA polymerase reverses its direction by one base pair of DNA and excises the mismatched base. Following base excision, the polymerase can re-insert the correct base and replication can continue.

In eukaryotes only the polymerases that deal with the elongation (delta, and epsilon) have proofreading ability (3'->5' exonuclease activity).[1]

Proofreading also occurs in mRNA translation for protein synthesis.[2] In this case, one mechanism is release of any incorrect aminoacyl-tRNA prior to peptide bond formation.[3]

The extent of proofreading in DNA replication determines the mutation rate, and is different in different species.[4] The extent of proofreading in other molecular processes can depend on the effective population size of the species and the number of genes affected by the same proofreading mechanism.[5]


  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ Pharmamotion --> Protein synthesis inhibitors: aminoglycosides mechanism of action animation. Classification of agents Posted by Flavio Guzmán on 12/08/08
  3. ^ Translation: Protein Synthesis by Joyce J. Diwan. Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Retrieved October 2011
  4. ^ Rates of Spontaneous Mutation Drake et al. Genetics, 1998
  5. ^ Rajon, E., Masel, J. (2011). "Evolution of molecular error rates and the consequences for evolvability". PNAS 108 (3): 1082–1087.  

External links

  • Idaho U. DNA proofreading and repair
  • "DNA polymerase ε and δ proofreading suppress discrete mutator and cancer phenotypes in mice"
  • "Proofreading Activity of DNA Polymerase Pol2 Mediates 3′-End Processing during Nonhomologous End Joining in Yeast"

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