Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Enzyme Critical In DNA Replication Identified

Date:
July 6, 2007
Source:
NIH/National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
Summary:
In the journal Science, researchers report an important discovery about a critical new role that an enzyme called DNA polymerase epsilon plays in replicating DNA in higher organisms such as yeast and perhaps even humans.

In the journal Science, researchers from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) and Umeε University in Sweden report an important discovery about a critical new role that an enzyme called DNA polymerase epsilon plays in replicating DNA in higher organisms such as yeast and perhaps even humans.

Related Articles


"The study places us one step closer to understanding the origins of genome instability that underlie certain environmental diseases in humans," said NIEHS Director David A. Schwartz, M.D. NIEHS is part of the National Institutes of Health.

The research was conducted by Zachary Pursell, Ph.D. and Thomas A. Kunkel, Ph.D., at NIEHS in collaboration with Erik Johansson, Ph.D. and colleagues at Umeε University.

The researchers used an innovative strategy to demonstrate that in bakers yeast, DNA polymerase epsilon has a primary role in replicating the leading strand of DNA. DNA polymerase epsilon was found to be a key determinant of genome stability and of cellular responses to DNA damage resulting from exposures to environmental stress.

The researchers built on fundamental discoveries on the structure and replication of DNA made by Nobel laureates James Watson, Francis Crick and Arthur Kornberg.

When Watson and Crick first described the structure of DNA in 1953, they pointed out that the two DNA strands, which are referred to as leading and lagging, pair with each other to form the now familiar double helix.

Shortly thereafter, Kornberg and colleagues discovered the first enzymes capable of replicating DNA, a process required to make new genomes for cell division. These enzymes, called DNA polymerases, were shown to copy the two DNA strands in only one of two possible directions. One strand of the double helix must be replicated first by a dedicated leading strand polymerase, followed slightly thereafter by replication of the lagging strand by a different polymerase.

In lower organisms like the E. coli bacteria that Kornberg studied, one DNA polymerase can accomplish both tasks. However, humans and related higher organisms, such as bakers yeast, are much more complicated. Recent discoveries, several of which emerged from the human genome project, indicate that the human genome encodes at least 15 DNA polymerases that can copy DNA. Several of these are thought to perform genomic replication, while others operate under special circumstances, such as the repair of DNA damage resulting from environmental exposures.

"Amazingly, more than a half century after Watson and Crick first described the DNA double helix, it had remained unclear which of these many DNA polymerases in higher organisms is actually responsible for first replicating the leading strand during nuclear genome duplication, " said Kunkel, author and Chief, Laboratory of Structural Biology at NIEHS.

Kunkel explained that the general strategy used in the study can now be applied to investigate other reactions that are critical for genome stability, including the identity of the lagging strand polymerase and the roles of more specialized DNA polymerases in copying damaged DNA.

According to Pursell, a researcher in the DNA Replication Fidelity Group at NIEHS and first author on the paper the study's findings advance the fundamental understanding of how the genomes of many higher organisms are replicated.

Reference: Pursell ZF, Isoz I, Lundstrφm EB, Johannsson E, Kunkel TA. Yeast DNA Polymerase ? Participates in Leading-Strand DNA Replication. Science, 2007.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by NIH/National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

NIH/National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. "Enzyme Critical In DNA Replication Identified." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 July 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/07/070705152937.htm>.
NIH/National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. (2007, July 6). Enzyme Critical In DNA Replication Identified. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/07/070705152937.htm
NIH/National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. "Enzyme Critical In DNA Replication Identified." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/07/070705152937.htm (accessed October 23, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Black Bear Cub Goes Sunday Shopping

Black Bear Cub Goes Sunday Shopping

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Oct. 23, 2014) — Price check on honey? Bear cub startles Oregon drugstore shoppers. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dances With Wolves in China's Wild West

Dances With Wolves in China's Wild West

AFP (Oct. 23, 2014) — One man is on a mission to boost the population of wolves in China's violence-wracked far west. The animal - symbol of the Uighur minority there - is under threat with a massive human resettlement program in the region. Duration: 00:41 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Working Mother DIY: Pumpkin Pom-Pom

Working Mother DIY: Pumpkin Pom-Pom

Working Mother (Oct. 22, 2014) — How to make a pumpkin pom-pom. Video provided by Working Mother
Powered by NewsLook.com
Goofy Dinosaur Blends Barney and Jar Jar Binks

Goofy Dinosaur Blends Barney and Jar Jar Binks

AP (Oct. 22, 2014) — A collection of dinosaur bones reveal a creature that is far more weird and goofy-looking than scientists originally thought when they found just the arm bones nearly 50 years ago, according to a new report in the journal Nature. (Oct. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins