Volume 20, Issue 7 p. 860-871
Minireview

Terminal Deoxynucleotidyl Transferase in the Synthesis and Modification of Nucleic Acids

Dr. Ivo Sarac

Dr. Ivo Sarac

Laboratory for Bioorganic Chemistry of Nucleic Acids, Department of Structural Biology and Chemistry, Institut Pasteur, CNRS UMR3523, 28, rue du Docteur Roux, 75724 Paris Cedex 15, France

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Dr. Marcel Hollenstein

Corresponding Author

Dr. Marcel Hollenstein

Laboratory for Bioorganic Chemistry of Nucleic Acids, Department of Structural Biology and Chemistry, Institut Pasteur, CNRS UMR3523, 28, rue du Docteur Roux, 75724 Paris Cedex 15, France

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First published: 19 November 2018
Citations: 56

Graphical Abstract

Turning the (nucleo)tide: The terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase (TdT) catalyzes the template-independent addition of nucleotides at the 3′-ends of single-stranded DNA substrates. The combination of the TdT with modified nucleoside triphosphates is an alluring method for the development of nucleic acid-based tools and assays, which are the topic of this minireview.

Abstract

The terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase (TdT) belongs to the X family of DNA polymerases. This unusual polymerase catalyzes the template-independent addition of random nucleotides on 3′-overhangs during V(D)J recombination. The biological function and intrinsic biochemical properties of the TdT have spurred the development of numerous oligonucleotide-based tools and methods, especially if combined with modified nucleoside triphosphates. Herein, we summarize the different applications stemming from the incorporation of modified nucleotides by the TdT. The structural, mechanistic, and biochemical properties of this polymerase are also discussed.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare no conflict of interest.