Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Stability for the genome

10.05.2013
In cancer cells, the genome is often in a chaotic, unstable state. Now, a research group from the Würzburg Biocenter describes which enzymes can stabilize DNA in the journal “Nature”.
In healthy human cells, the genome tends to be in a highly ordered state: DNA is neatly packed into precisely 46 chromosomes. In cancer cells, the picture is often very different: chromosomes may be broken or damaged in some other way, and sometimes even the entire genome is completely jumbled.

The stability of the genome depends on enzymes that have hardly changed over the course of evolution. This is what a biochemistry research group from the University of Würzburg, with colleagues from the USA and Switzerland, is reporting in the scientific journal “Nature”. The article also describes the DNA locations where enzymes exercise their effect.

Without helicases the genome breaks down

The enzymes concerned are so-called Pif1 helicases. “Whether in bacteria, yeast cells, or humans, Pif1 helicases or their homologs have the same function everywhere: they stabilize the genome,” says Dr. Katrin Paeschke, who runs an independent junior research group at the University of Würzburg’s Department of Biochemistry.

How important the helicases are becomes particularly apparent when they stop working. “This is often the case in breast cancer cells,” says Paeschke. There are also obvious consequences when the enzymes mutate in baker’s yeast cells: this leads to dramatic decomposition processes in their genome.

Where helicases stabilize DNA

Helicases exercise their stabilizing effect on special structures in the genome, the so-called G-quadruplexes. “These are node-like elements that can occur in the DNA molecule,” explains the Würzburg researcher. These structures require special protection: where they occur, DNA breaks down very easily. Without the protective helicases, particularly chaotic changes take place around the nodes, as Paeschke’s team observed.

Further research into G-quadruplexes

These new insights will not have an immediate impact on cancer treatment. “Looking further into the future, it is conceivable that regulating the G-quadruplexes might slow the breakdown of the genome in cancer cells,” comments Paeschke.

But first, the biochemist and her team are keen to investigate a different aspect: “G-quadruplexes are also misregulated in healthy cells in the presence of Pif helicases. We want to analyze how these important structures are repaired under these circumstances.”

About Katrin Paeschke

After a period of research at Princeton University (USA), Katrin Paeschke arrived at the University of Würzburg in early 2012. Since then she has been running an Emmy Noether junior research group here that is funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG). In 2012, she received a Heinz Maier-Leibnitz Prize from the DFG and the Röntgen Prize from the University of Würzburg. Both awards are bestowed upon outstanding young scientists.

“Pif1 family helicases suppress genome instability at G-quadruplex motifs”, Katrin Paeschke, Matthew L. Bochman, P. Daniela Garcia, Petr Cejka, Katherine L. Friedman, Stephen C. Kowalczykowski, and Virginia A. Zakian, Nature, 2013, May 8, doi: 10.1038/nature12149

Contact

Dr. Katrin Paeschke, Department of Biochemistry, Biocenter at the University of Würzburg, katrin.paeschke@biozentrum.uni-wuerzburg.de

Robert Emmerich | Uni Würzburg
Further information:
http://www.uni-wuerzburg.de

Further reports about: Biocenter Biochemistry DFG DNA G-quadruplex cancer cells healthy cell human cell

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Fingerprint' technique spots frog populations at risk from pollution
27.03.2017 | Lancaster University

nachricht Parallel computation provides deeper insight into brain function
27.03.2017 | Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology (OIST) Graduate 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: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

Im Focus: Researchers Imitate Molecular Crowding in Cells

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Northern oceans pumped CO2 into the atmosphere

27.03.2017 | Earth Sciences

Fingerprint' technique spots frog populations at risk from pollution

27.03.2017 | Life Sciences

Big data approach to predict protein structure

27.03.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>