Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Critical protein prevents DNA damage from persisting through generations

02.07.2007
A protein long known to be involved in protecting cells from genetic damage has been found to play an even more important role in protecting the cell's offspring. New research by a team of scientists at Rockefeller University, Howard Hughes Medical Institute and the National Cancer Institute shows that the protein, known as ATM, is not only vital for helping repair double-stranded breaks in DNA of immune cells, but is also part of a system that prevents genetic damage from being passed on when the cells divide.

Early in the life of B lymphocytes -- the immune cells responsible for hunting down foreign invaders and labeling them for destruction -- they rearrange their DNA to create various surface receptors that can accurately identify different intruders, a process called V(D)J recombination. Now, in an study published online today in the journal Cell, Rockefeller University Professor Michel Nussenzweig, in collaboration with his brother André Nussenzweig at NCI and their colleagues, shows that when the ATM protein is absent, chromosomal breaks created during V(D)J recombination go unrepaired, and checkpoints that normally prevent the damaged cell from replicating are lost.

Normal lymphocytes contain a number of restorative proteins, whose job it is to identify chromosomal damage and repair it or, if the damage is irreparable, prevent the cell from multiplying. Earlier research by André and Michel Nussenzweig, who is an investigator at HHMI, had identified other DNA repair proteins that are important during different phases of a B lymphocyte's life. It was during one of these studies, which examined genetic damage late in the life of a B cell, that they came across chromosomal breaks that could not be explained.

So the researchers began to look into the potential role of V(D)J recombination. "We were not expecting it to be responsible for the breaks we were seeing," says Michel, Sherman Fairchild Professor and head of the Laboratory of Molecular Immunology. "Because for it to be responsible, the breaks would have had to happen early on, the cell would have to divide, mature, maintain the breaks, and stay alive with broken chromosomes."

... more about:
»ATM »DNA »breaks »chromosomal »prevent

This, in fact, was precisely what they found.

The ATM protein appears to have two roles in a B cell: It helps repair the DNA double-strand breaks, and it activates the cell-cycle checkpoint that prevents genetically damaged cells from dividing. "ATM is required for a B cell to know that it has a broken chromosome. And if it doesn't know that it seems to be able to keep on going," says Michel.

Since the ATM protein is mutated in a number of lymphomas -- cancers of the lymph and immune system -- the new finding suggests to researchers that the lymphocytes could have been living with DNA damage for a long time, and that this damage likely plays a role in later chromosomal translocations, rearrangements of genetic materials that can lead to cancer.

Michel and his brother, who've been collaborators for more than a decade, intend to pursue the molecular mechanisms by which these chromosomal translocations occur. "I think it's important to understand them," he says, "because eventually we might be able to prevent these dangerous chromosome fusions."

Joseph Bonner | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.rockefeller.edu

Further reports about: ATM DNA breaks chromosomal prevent

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Separate brain systems cooperate during learning, study finds
22.02.2018 | Brown University

nachricht Maelstroms in the heart
22.02.2018 | Max-Planck-Institut für Dynamik und Selbstorganisation

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Developing reliable quantum computers

International research team makes important step on the path to solving certification problems

Quantum computers may one day solve algorithmic problems which even the biggest supercomputers today can’t manage. But how do you test a quantum computer to...

Im Focus: In best circles: First integrated circuit from self-assembled polymer

For the first time, a team of researchers at the Max-Planck Institute (MPI) for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany, has succeeded in making an integrated circuit (IC) from just a monolayer of a semiconducting polymer via a bottom-up, self-assembly approach.

In the self-assembly process, the semiconducting polymer arranges itself into an ordered monolayer in a transistor. The transistors are binary switches used...

Im Focus: Demonstration of a single molecule piezoelectric effect

Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale

Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...

Im Focus: Hybrid optics bring color imaging using ultrathin metalenses into focus

For photographers and scientists, lenses are lifesavers. They reflect and refract light, making possible the imaging systems that drive discovery through the microscope and preserve history through cameras.

But today's glass-based lenses are bulky and resist miniaturization. Next-generation technologies, such as ultrathin cameras or tiny microscopes, require...

Im Focus: Stem cell divisions in the adult brain seen for the first time

Scientists from the University of Zurich have succeeded for the first time in tracking individual stem cells and their neuronal progeny over months within the intact adult brain. This study sheds light on how new neurons are produced throughout life.

The generation of new nerve cells was once thought to taper off at the end of embryonic development. However, recent research has shown that the adult brain...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

2nd International Conference on High Temperature Shape Memory Alloys (HTSMAs)

15.02.2018 | Event News

Aachen DC Grid Summit 2018

13.02.2018 | Event News

How Global Climate Policy Can Learn from the Energy Transition

12.02.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Decoding the structure of the huntingtin protein

22.02.2018 | Life Sciences

Camera technology in vehicles: Low-latency image data compression

22.02.2018 | Information Technology

Minimising risks of transplants

22.02.2018 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>