Aug 22, 2016

Now we can watch DNA Repair itself!

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, chemistry

Watching DNA self-repair itself.

After 2015’s Nobel Prize in chemistry was awarded for advancements in our understanding of DNA repair, a recent Nature report characterises the mechanism in molecular detail. The implications for cancer research are vast.

Researchers in Paris, France, and Bristol, England, have leveraged recent advances in microscopy and fluorescent imaging to characterise the entire process of DNA repair at the molecular level. They were able to observe RNA polymerase, which ‘reads’ DNA and initiates its replication, as it moved along the DNA strand.

When it encountered damage inflicted by UV radiation, the enzyme stalled, and a number of proteins descended on the site. The team followed them as they acted in an ordered step-wise fashion and elucidated the critical steps of the DNA repair process: first, a protein called Mfd coordinates to RNA polymerase, then it directs a sort of relay team of UvrA, UvrB and UvrC. This deeper understanding of the mechanism could bolster efforts towards treatments for a variety of conditions.

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