Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

USC-led team of scientists recreates DNA-mending pathway in test-tube

03.12.2004


Finding could lead to new cancer drugs, more effective radiation treatments



One of five known DNA-repair mechanisms in cells has been completely analyzed and reconstituted in a test tube by an international collaboration of researchers led by scientists from the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California. The team is the first ever to reconstitute this pathway, known as the nonhomologous end joining pathway, or NHEJ, and NHEJ is only the third repair pathway to be reconstituted in the laboratory. The findings were published in the December 3, 2004 issue of Molecular Cell.

Understanding how DNA repair works is critical to understanding the development of cancer, which often occurs when DNA is not properly repaired.


In addition, notes Michael Lieber, M.D., Ph.D., the Rita and Edward Polusky Chair in Basic Cancer Research at the Keck School who heads up the molecular genetics program at the USC/Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center and was principal investigator on this study, the ability to reconstitute the pathway has important practical implications.

"Now we can really test for drugs that will affect the pathway," he said. "For instance, one of the things this pathway is particularly good at is repairing radiation damage. When people get radiation treatment, both the normal and the tumor cells will use this pathway to resist the radiation. If we could inhibit the pathway regionally in or around the tumor, we could really make radiation dramatically more effective."

In order for the team to reconstitute the NHEJ pathway, which is found in all cells that are evolutionarily ’above’ yeast, they first had to purify all the proteins used to rejoin the double strands of DNA once they’ve suffered damage and are severed from one another. As it turned out, two of the seven proteins come from a class of polymerases that were discovered in 1999 by Myron Goodman, Ph.D., professor of molecular biology at the USC College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, who became an essential part of this research team. "Before this, no one knew what this class was good for," Lieber explains. "This is really the first solid indication of what two of these polymerases might do."

Knowledge of the details of the NHEJ pathway extends beyond its connections to cancer and radiation treatment, Lieber notes. "This pathway gets used not just for accidental damage, oxidative damage and radiation damage to DNA, but is also used in the immune system," he explains. "So the immune system would function less well without it."

Jon Weiner | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.usc.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Switch-in-a-cell electrifies life
18.12.2018 | Rice University

nachricht Plant biologists identify mechanism behind transition from insect to wind pollination
18.12.2018 | University of Toronto

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Data storage using individual molecules

Researchers from the University of Basel have reported a new method that allows the physical state of just a few atoms or molecules within a network to be controlled. It is based on the spontaneous self-organization of molecules into extensive networks with pores about one nanometer in size. In the journal ‘small’, the physicists reported on their investigations, which could be of particular importance for the development of new storage devices.

Around the world, researchers are attempting to shrink data storage devices to achieve as large a storage capacity in as small a space as possible. In almost...

Im Focus: Data use draining your battery? Tiny device to speed up memory while also saving power

The more objects we make "smart," from watches to entire buildings, the greater the need for these devices to store and retrieve massive amounts of data quickly without consuming too much power.

Millions of new memory cells could be part of a computer chip and provide that speed and energy savings, thanks to the discovery of a previously unobserved...

Im Focus: An energy-efficient way to stay warm: Sew high-tech heating patches to your clothes

Personal patches could reduce energy waste in buildings, Rutgers-led study says

What if, instead of turning up the thermostat, you could warm up with high-tech, flexible patches sewn into your clothes - while significantly reducing your...

Im Focus: Lethal combination: Drug cocktail turns off the juice to cancer cells

A widely used diabetes medication combined with an antihypertensive drug specifically inhibits tumor growth – this was discovered by researchers from the University of Basel’s Biozentrum two years ago. In a follow-up study, recently published in “Cell Reports”, the scientists report that this drug cocktail induces cancer cell death by switching off their energy supply.

The widely used anti-diabetes drug metformin not only reduces blood sugar but also has an anti-cancer effect. However, the metformin dose commonly used in the...

Im Focus: New Foldable Drone Flies through Narrow Holes in Rescue Missions

A research team from the University of Zurich has developed a new drone that can retract its propeller arms in flight and make itself small to fit through narrow gaps and holes. This is particularly useful when searching for victims of natural disasters.

Inspecting a damaged building after an earthquake or during a fire is exactly the kind of job that human rescuers would like drones to do for them. A flying...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

ICTM Conference 2019: Digitization emerges as an engineering trend for turbomachinery construction

12.12.2018 | Event News

New Plastics Economy Investor Forum - Meeting Point for Innovations

10.12.2018 | Event News

EGU 2019 meeting: Media registration now open

06.12.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Physicists found a correlation between the structure and magnetic properties of ceramics

18.12.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Unique insights into an exotic matter state

18.12.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Physicists studied the influence of magnetic field on thin film structures

18.12.2018 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>