Affiliation: Ulrich Hubscher, Institute for Veterinary Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Zurich-Irchel, Winterthurerstrasse 190, CH-8057 Zurich Switzerland.
We have very recently highlighted possible connections between DNA polymerases, the main enzymes in the DNA metabolism, and human diseases (Ramadan, K., Maga, G. and Hubscher, U.: DNA polymerases and diseases, In: Genome Integrity: Facets and Perspectives ed. Lankenau, D.-H. Springer Verlag, Heidelberg Germany, Vol 1, pp. 69-102, 2007). Beside a role in DNA replication of the genome DNA polymerases have fundamental functions in other aspect of DNA metabolism, such as DNA repair, DNA recombination, translesion DNA synthesis and cell cycle checkpoint. In the last decade many novel DNA polymerases have been identified, but their exact cellular functions still await clarification. We know that many DNA polymerases have redundant functions. It is a fact that specific inhibition of certain DNA polymerases is a promising approach to develop anticancer drugs. In this review we will concentrate on DNA repair proteins and translesion DNA polymerases as possible targets for anti cancer drugs.