8-Oxo-7,8-dihydroguanine (8-oxoGua) can base pair with either cytosine (C) or adenine (A) when replicated by DNA polymerases. The 8-oxoGua.A mismatch is extended in preference to the 8-oxoGua.C pair. Using a model 25-mer/36-mer DNA duplex containing either guanine (Gua).C, 8-oxoGua.C, or 8-oxoGua.A base pairs at the primer terminus and A at the standing start position, we found that the pre-steady-state addition of dTTP opposite A following all three base pairs by bacteriophage T7 DNA polymerase exo- showed burst kinetics, suggesting that extension of all three base pairs is controlled by the rate of a step at or before phosphodiester bond formation. Substitution of dTTP alpha S for dTTP yielded modest thio effects of 1-6, suggesting that extension of all three pairs is limited by the rate of the conformational change prior to phosphodiester bond formation. Pre-steady-state values for kpol (maximum polymerization rate) were 120, 12, and 28 s-1, and Kd values were 2, 75, and 22 microM for insertion of dTTP following Gua.C, 8-oxoGua.C, and 8-oxoGua.A base pairs, respectively. Additional analysis of extension was provided by substitution of A in the standing start position by 2-aminopurine (2-AP), a fluorescent base analogue. Comparison of rapid-quench gel-based assays with stopped-flow fluorescence quenching assays suggested that during addition of dTTP opposite 2-AP phosphodiester bond formation was rate-limiting when 8-oxoGua.C or 8-oxoGua.A were the preceding base pairs, while conformational change was rate-limiting when Gua.C was the preceding base pair. Furthermore, the difference in apparent conformational change rates for addition of dTTP opposite 2-AP following the 8-oxoGua base pairs was greater than the differences in their phosphodiester bond formation rates, suggesting that discrimination in extension may be influenced more by conformational change rates than the rates of phosphodiester bond formation in this mispaired system.