Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry researcher Mark Glover and his colleagues published their findings in the peer-reviewed journal, Structure (Cell Press), earlier this summer.
For years, scientists thought two key proteins involved in DNA repair operated in exactly the same way. Glover's team discovered how the proteins operate and communicate is vastly different — information that could lead to improved cancer treatments.
Glover explains that a protein known as BRCA1 acts like a hallway monitor — constantly scanning DNA for damage. At the first sign of problems, this protein figures out what kind of help is needed, and "radios" in a cleanup crew of other proteins.
A second protein, known as TopBP1, ensures that DNA can copy itself when needed. When this process stalls due to DNA damage, this protein also calls in a cleanup crew. But Glover likens its method of communication to tweets, rather than radio.
"The two proteins may be related and look very similar, but their roles and the way they communicate are in fact very different, which was surprising to us," Glover says. "Each protein plays a role in recognizing damaged regions of DNA, but the problem they each solve is different.
"The question now is how can we use this information to try to improve cancer therapies? Could we temporarily knock out cancer DNA's ability to repair itself from radiation damage? Could we administer radiation at a point that prevents cancer DNA from copying itself? Could we inhibit the activity of proteins that are normally trying to run around and fix the damage?
"Maybe some of these ideas could ultimately translate into less radiation or chemotherapy needed for patients, if the treatment can be more targeted," says Glover, who works in the Department of Biochemistry.
His team is continuing its research in this area, and wants to learn more about the role of the TopBP1 protein and why it favours communicating with a specific protein. They also want to conduct tests in their lab to see if the use of certain medications could alter the way these proteins work in a way that could result in new or improved cancer treatments.
Glover's lab members make 3-D images of proteins, making it easier to understand and see how proteins work.
The research was funded by the Canadian Cancer Society and the National Institutes of Health.
Raquel Maurier | EurekAlert!
New photocatalyst speeds up the conversion of carbon dioxide into chemical resources
29.05.2017 | DGIST (Daegu Gyeongbuk Institute of Science and Technology)
Copper hydroxide nanoparticles provide protection against toxic oxygen radicals in cigarette smoke
29.05.2017 | Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz
The world's highest gain high power laser amplifier - by many orders of magnitude - has been developed in research led at the University of Strathclyde.
The researchers demonstrated the feasibility of using plasma to amplify short laser pulses of picojoule-level energy up to 100 millijoules, which is a 'gain'...
Staphylococcus aureus is a feared pathogen (MRSA, multi-resistant S. aureus) due to frequent resistances against many antibiotics, especially in hospital infections. Researchers at the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut have identified immunological processes that prevent a successful immune response directed against the pathogenic agent. The delivery of bacterial proteins with RNA adjuvant or messenger RNA (mRNA) into immune cells allows the re-direction of the immune response towards an active defense against S. aureus. This could be of significant importance for the development of an effective vaccine. PLOS Pathogens has published these research results online on 25 May 2017.
Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) is a bacterium that colonizes by far more than half of the skin and the mucosa of adults, usually without causing infections....
Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.
The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....
An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.
We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...
Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.
Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...
24.05.2017 | Event News
23.05.2017 | Event News
22.05.2017 | Event News
29.05.2017 | Earth Sciences
29.05.2017 | Life Sciences
29.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy