Mitch McVey

Mitch McVey

Mitch McVey, associate professor of biology, published Competition between replicative and translesion polymerases during homologous recombination repair in Drosophilia in PLoS Genetics with Tufts co-authors Daniel P. Kane, graduate student at the Arts, Sciences, & Engineering and Tufts alum Michael Shusterman.  The abstract is below –

In metazoans, the mechanism by which DNA is synthesized during homologous recombination repair of double-strand breaks is poorly understood. Specifically, the identities of the polymerase(s) that carry out repair synthesis and how they are recruited to repair sites are unclear. Here, we have investigated the roles of several different polymerases during homologous recombination repair in Drosophila melanogaster. Using a gap repair assay, we found that homologous recombination is impaired in Drosophila lacking DNA polymerase zeta and, to a lesser extent, polymerase eta. In addition, the Pol32 protein, part of the polymerase delta complex, is needed for repair requiring extensive synthesis. Loss of Rev1, which interacts with multiple translesion polymerases, results in increased synthesis during gap repair. Together, our findings support a model in which translesion polymerases and the polymerase delta complex compete during homologous recombination repair. In addition, they establish Rev1 as a crucial factor that regulates the extent of repair synthesis.

Mitch has answered some questions about open access.

Please tell us a little about the research that went into this article.
When both strands of a DNA double helix are broken, a DNA polymerase is required to synthesize new DNA and fix the double-strand break.  The goal of this study was to determine which DNA polymerases is/are used during double-strand break repair.  Using fruit flies, which possess most of the same DNA polymerases as humans, we found that there is a competition between accurate and inaccurate polymerases during break repair.  These findings are important because they suggest that double-strand break repair may not be as error-free as has been previously thought.  One fun fact about this research: over 100,000 flies were examined during the study!

Why did you choose to publish in an open access journal?
Because this study is likely to be of interest to a wide audience of biologists, we wanted to ensure that it would be available to as many readers as possible.

How do you think open access will influence your field in the future?
We expect that open access journals will continue to evolve and become more popular in the coming years, particularly as grant funding becomes tighter.


As of 4/4/2013 this open access article has been cited 6 times per Google Scholar.