Human genetic material is constantly at risk of injury from the environment. Possible causes of damage include metabolic processes, chemical substances or ionizing radiation, such as X-radiation. Even a low dose of radiation can cause breaks in the DNA double helix. Normally, these DNA breaks are repaired by the body’s own proteins, but they can also cause cancer if the repair is unsuccessful.
Protein as a corkscrew
The protein p97/VCP plays a key role in repairing DNA breaks. The research groups headed by Kristijan Ramadan from the University of Zurich’s Institute of Veterinary Pharmacology and Hemmo Meyer from the University of Duisburg-Essen have discovered that p97/VCP aids DNA repair like a corkscrew. Proteins that accumulate at the break site are initially marked with remnants of the protein ubiquitin. These remnants bind to the p97/VCP protein and are removed like a cork. For the DNA repair to be completed successfully, the precise spatial and temporal removal of the repair proteins from the damage site is crucial.
Uses for cancer therapy
The repair mechanism with p97/VCP and its inhibition could be important for cancer therapy. “By blocking p97/VCP’s corkscrew activities, it should be possible to increase the impact of radio- or chemotherapy,” says veterinary pharmacologist Kristijan Ramadan. Radiation causes extensive, often fatal damage to cancer cell DNA. The therapeutic effect could be improved further if, at the same time, the repair mechanism usually deployed in cancer cells were to be inhibited with p97/VCP. “Maybe the radiation dosage with all its unpleasant side effects could even be reduced,” concludes Ramadan.Literature:
Nathalie Huber | Universität Zürich
Two Group A Streptococcus genes linked to 'flesh-eating' bacterial infections
25.09.2017 | University of Maryland
Rainbow colors reveal cell history: Uncovering β-cell heterogeneity
22.09.2017 | DFG-Forschungszentrum für Regenerative Therapien TU Dresden
At the productronica trade fair in Munich this November, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be presenting Laser-Based Tape-Automated Bonding, LaserTAB for short. The experts from Aachen will be demonstrating how new battery cells and power electronics can be micro-welded more efficiently and precisely than ever before thanks to new optics and robot support.
Fraunhofer ILT from Aachen relies on a clever combination of robotics and a laser scanner with new optics as well as process monitoring, which it has developed...
Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.
A warming planet
Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.
The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...
Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...
Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!
When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...
19.09.2017 | Event News
12.09.2017 | Event News
06.09.2017 | Event News
25.09.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering
25.09.2017 | Health and Medicine
25.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy