Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Researchers Identify Protein That Detects Damaged DNA


Physicians have long marveled at the body’s ability to heal itself. Over time, breaks, tears, burns and bruises can often disappear sans medical intervention. Less well-understood are the similarly extraordinary repairs that take place on the molecular level, in DNA. To that end, findings announced today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, may prove insightful. According to the report, researchers have found that a protein known as ATR appears to sense damage to DNA and touch off a sequence of events leading to molecular mending.

Ultraviolet radiation, chemotherapy and other agents can cause lesions in cellular DNA that must be fixed before the cell divides and replicates the mutations, which can lead to cancer, among other problems. Previous work had implicated ATR in the repair of damaged DNA, but exactly which part of that cascade of events the protein is responsible for remained a mystery. The new research, conducted by Aziz Sancar and his colleagues at the University of North Carolina, suggests that ATR directly detects DNA lesions and sounds the alarm bell, summoning the other members of the repair crew to duty, so to speak. "To find out if ATR directly sensed damaged DNA, we put a molecular tag on the ATR protein and purified it," Sancar explains. "We incubated the tagged protein with either bits of DNA that were normal or damaged by UV radiation. ATR bound more often to damaged DNA than to undamaged DNA." Furthermore, he notes, ATR’s activity increased when it encountered problematic DNA.

The results imply that ATR functions as an initial sensor in what is known as the DNA damage checkpoint response. "This is a very important phenomenon in both normal and cancerous cells," Sancar observes. "ATR appears to act as a switch that starts the repair process and also stops cells from proliferating while they are being repaired." Although the new work "is not going to cure cancer by itself," he remarks, "it is a significant step forward" in that it could point the way to new anticancer drugs.

Kate Wong | Scientific American

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Biologists unravel another mystery of what makes DNA go 'loopy'
16.03.2018 | Emory Health Sciences

nachricht Scientists map the portal to the cell's nucleus
16.03.2018 | Rockefeller University

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Locomotion control with photopigments

Researchers from Göttingen University discover additional function of opsins

Animal photoreceptors capture light with photopigments. Researchers from the University of Göttingen have now discovered that these photopigments fulfill an...

Im Focus: Surveying the Arctic: Tracking down carbon particles

Researchers embark on aerial campaign over Northeast Greenland

On 15 March, the AWI research aeroplane Polar 5 will depart for Greenland. Concentrating on the furthest northeast region of the island, an international team...

Im Focus: Unique Insights into the Antarctic Ice Shelf System

Data collected on ocean-ice interactions in the little-researched regions of the far south

The world’s second-largest ice shelf was the destination for a Polarstern expedition that ended in Punta Arenas, Chile on 14th March 2018. Oceanographers from...

Im Focus: ILA 2018: Laser alternative to hexavalent chromium coating

At the 2018 ILA Berlin Air Show from April 25–29, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT is showcasing extreme high-speed Laser Material Deposition (EHLA): A video documents how for metal components that are highly loaded, EHLA has already proved itself as an alternative to hard chrome plating, which is now allowed only under special conditions.

When the EU restricted the use of hexavalent chromium compounds to special applications requiring authorization, the move prompted a rethink in the surface...

Im Focus: Radar for navigation support from autonomous flying drones

At the ILA Berlin, hall 4, booth 202, Fraunhofer FHR will present two radar sensors for navigation support of drones. The sensors are valuable components in the implementation of autonomous flying drones: they function as obstacle detectors to prevent collisions. Radar sensors also operate reliably in restricted visibility, e.g. in foggy or dusty conditions. Due to their ability to measure distances with high precision, the radar sensors can also be used as altimeters when other sources of information such as barometers or GPS are not available or cannot operate optimally.

Drones play an increasingly important role in the area of logistics and services. Well-known logistic companies place great hope in these compact, aerial...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Industry & Economy
Event News

Ultrafast Wireless and Chip Design at the DATE Conference in Dresden

16.03.2018 | Event News

International Tinnitus Conference of the Tinnitus Research Initiative in Regensburg

13.03.2018 | Event News

International Virtual Reality Conference “IEEE VR 2018” comes to Reutlingen, Germany

08.03.2018 | Event News

Latest News

Wandering greenhouse gas

16.03.2018 | Earth Sciences

'Frequency combs' ID chemicals within the mid-infrared spectral region

16.03.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Biologists unravel another mystery of what makes DNA go 'loopy'

16.03.2018 | Life Sciences

Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>