Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Key protein aids in DNA repair

12.04.2010
Findings have potential for cancer, other age-related diseases

Scientists have shown in multiple contexts that DNA damage over our lifetimes is a key mechanism behind the development of cancer and other age-related diseases. Not everyone gets these diseases, because the body has multiple mechanisms for repairing the damage caused to DNA by aging, the environment and other human behaviors – but the mechanisms behind certain kinds of DNA repair have not been well-understood.

In a paper published today in the journal Nature, researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill's Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center have shown that a particular protein – called Ku – is particularly adept at healing damaged strands of DNA.

According to Dale Ramsden, PhD, associate professor in the department of biochemistry and biophysics and a member of the curriculum in genetics and molecular biology, Ku is a very exciting protein because it employs a unique mechanism to repair a particularly drastic form of DNA damage.

"Damage to DNA in the form of a broken chromosome, or double strand break, can be very difficult to repair – it is not a clean break and areas along the strand may be damaged at the level of the fundamental building blocks of DNA – called nucleotides," he notes.

Broken chromosomes can be compared to a break in a strand of yarn made up of several different threads or plies. Unless scissors are used to cut the yarn, the strand frays and may break or be damaged at several different places up and down the length of the yarn. These rough ends get "dirty" – making them harder to repair.

"It has been assumed in the past that double strand breaks are the most difficult class of DNA damage to repair and it is often presumed that they simply can not be repaired accurately," says Ramsden.

The team found that the protein Ku, which has long been appreciated for its ability to find chromosome breaks along a strand of DNA, actually removes the "dirt" at broken chromosome ends, allowing for much more accurate repair than believed possible.

"This protein actually heals at the nucleotide level as well as the level of the chromosome," says Ramsden, comparing its action to washing and disinfecting a cut before trying to sew it up to promote healing.

The team is hopeful that the discovery of this mechanism for DNA repair may lead to a target for treatment of age-related diseases caused by chromosome damage in the future.

Other team members include Steven Roberts, Natasha Strande, Martin Burkhalter, Christina Strom and Jody Havener from UNC and Paul Hasty from the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.

Ellen de Graffenreid | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.unc.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht How brains surrender to sleep
23.06.2017 | IMP - Forschungsinstitut für Molekulare Pathologie GmbH

nachricht A new technique isolates neuronal activity during memory consolidation
22.06.2017 | Spanish National Research Council (CSIC)

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity

An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.

Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Quantum thermometer or optical refrigerator?

23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

A 100-year-old physics problem has been solved at EPFL

23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Equipping form with function

23.06.2017 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>