Human DNA polymerase eta in complex with normal DNA and incoming nucleotide (Nrm)
[POLH_HUMAN] Defects in POLH are the cause of xeroderma pigmentosum variant type (XPV) [MIM:278750]; also designated as XP-V. Xeroderma pigmentosum (XP) is an autosomal recessive disease due to deficient nucleotide excision repair. It is characterized by hypersensitivity of the skin to sunlight, followed by high incidence of skin cancer and frequent neurologic abnormalities. XPV shows normal nucleotide excision repair, but an exaggerated delay in recovery of replicative DNA synthesis. Most XPV patients do not develop clinical symptoms and skin neoplasias until a later age. Clinical manifestations are limited to photo-induced deterioration of the skin and eyes.    
[POLH_HUMAN] DNA polymerase specifically involved in DNA repair. Plays an important role in translesion synthesis, where the normal high fidelity DNA polymerases cannot proceed and DNA synthesis stalls. Plays an important role in the repair of UV-induced pyrimidine dimers. Depending on the context, it inserts the correct base, but causes frequent base transitions and transversions. May play a role in hypermutation at immunoglobulin genes. Forms a Schiff base with 5'-deoxyribose phosphate at abasic sites, but does not have lyase activity. Targets POLI to replication foci.    
Publication Abstract from PubMed
The variant form of the human syndrome xeroderma pigmentosum (XPV) is caused by a deficiency in DNA polymerase eta (Poleta), a DNA polymerase that enables replication through ultraviolet-induced pyrimidine dimers. Here we report high-resolution crystal structures of human Poleta at four consecutive steps during DNA synthesis through cis-syn cyclobutane thymine dimers. Poleta acts like a 'molecular splint' to stabilize damaged DNA in a normal B-form conformation. An enlarged active site accommodates the thymine dimer with excellent stereochemistry for two-metal ion catalysis. Two residues conserved among Poleta orthologues form specific hydrogen bonds with the lesion and the incoming nucleotide to assist translesion synthesis. On the basis of the structures, eight Poleta missense mutations causing XPV can be rationalized as undermining the molecular splint or perturbing the active-site alignment. The structures also provide an insight into the role of Poleta in replicating through D loop and DNA fragile sites.
Structure and mechanism of human DNA polymerase eta.,Biertumpfel C, Zhao Y, Kondo Y, Ramon-Maiques S, Gregory M, Lee JY, Masutani C, Lehmann AR, Hanaoka F, Yang W Nature. 2010 Jun 24;465(7301):1044-8. PMID:20577208
From MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.