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
'Y' a protein unicorn might matter in glaucoma
23.10.2017 | Georgia Institute of Technology
Microfluidics probe 'cholesterol' of the oil industry
23.10.2017 | Rice University
Salmonellae are dangerous pathogens that enter the body via contaminated food and can cause severe infections. But these bacteria are also known to target...
University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event
On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...
Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.
Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....
Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).
When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...
Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.
How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...
23.10.2017 | Event News
17.10.2017 | Event News
10.10.2017 | Event News
23.10.2017 | Life Sciences
23.10.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
23.10.2017 | Health and Medicine