Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Spring Break: Computer Simulation Finds UV Rays Damage Rare DNA Shapes

Date:
February 12, 2008
Source:
Ohio Supercomputer Center
Summary:
Spring Break means warmer weather and the allure of sunny beaches. But while sun-loving students head out to beaches every spring to enjoy sand and surf, ultraviolet rays could be damaging their skin's genetic code and causing skin cancer, the most widespread cancer in North America. Future generations of spring beach-goers will be pleased to know that scientists are making progress towards understanding why certain DNA sites are much more susceptible to UV damage than others.

Spring Break means warmer weather and the allure of sunny beaches. But while sun-loving students head out to beaches every spring to enjoy sand and surf, ultraviolet rays could be damaging their skin’s genetic code and causing skin cancer, the most widespread cancer in North America.

Future generations of spring beach-goers will be pleased to know that Ohio State University scientists are making progress towards understanding why certain DNA sites are much more susceptible to UV damage than others.

Researchers already know that certain points in the genome are damaged by UV rays much more readily than others, but Bern Kohler, an Ohio State professor of chemistry, and Yu Kay Law, a graduate research associate in biophysics and Kohler’s advisee, hypothesized that the structure or shape of a skin’s DNA molecule at the time it absorbs UV light determines whether or not the DNA will be damaged.

The double-helix form of DNA constantly fluctuates, undergoing many billions of subtle, yet distinctive, structural changes every second as it gets jostled by water and other molecules within cells, according to Kohler.

“Because we know the cell’s DNA is dynamic, and motions such as helix bending or stacking and unstacking of bases occur relatively slowly, we suspected that the most typical type of damage created by UV light, cyclobutane pyrimidine dimer, form only when conditions are just right,” said Law. CPD damage interferes with normal cell processing of DNA, which can lead to mutations that cause diseases such as cancer.

“Damage is a rare event, because most of the time DNA is found in structures that are damage-proof,” Kohler explained. “However, a small fraction of the time DNA molecules find themselves in the wrong place at the wrong time … .”

Using the supercomputers at the Ohio Supercomputer Center to conduct data-intensive molecular dynamic simulations, Kohler and Law investigated the many millions of different shapes DNA takes on as it fluctuates in water and various organic co-solvents. In research that is slated to be published in the April issue of Biophysical Journal, they verify that CPDs are created only when adjacent thymine bases of DNA are favorably aligned and in an excited state from the energy provided by UV light.

“Advanced technology is vital to this research; without the use of supercomputers, we would only be able to speculate on the mechanisms of UV damage,” Law said. “These results are significant because they reveal the shapes that make DNA vulnerable to damage and help explain why CPDs are formed more readily at certain sequences. This insight allows us to advance our studies and investigate ways by which these mutations are controlled in living organisms through sequence variation and protein binding.”

Biophysical Journal article available now online at http://dx.doi.org/10.1529/biophysj.107.118612


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Ohio Supercomputer Center. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Ohio Supercomputer Center. "Spring Break: Computer Simulation Finds UV Rays Damage Rare DNA Shapes." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 February 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/02/080208162602.htm>.
Ohio Supercomputer Center. (2008, February 12). Spring Break: Computer Simulation Finds UV Rays Damage Rare DNA Shapes. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/02/080208162602.htm
Ohio Supercomputer Center. "Spring Break: Computer Simulation Finds UV Rays Damage Rare DNA Shapes." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/02/080208162602.htm (accessed October 21, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

CDC Revamps Ebola Guidelines After Criticism

CDC Revamps Ebola Guidelines After Criticism

Newsy (Oct. 21, 2014) The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have issued new protocols for healthcare workers interacting with Ebola patients. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
WHO: Ebola Vaccine Trials to Start a in January

WHO: Ebola Vaccine Trials to Start a in January

AP (Oct. 21, 2014) Tens of thousands of doses of experimental Ebola vaccines could be available for "real-world" testing in West Africa as soon as January as long as they are deemed safe in soon to start trials, the World Health Organization said Tuesday. (Oct. 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
First-Of-Its-Kind Treatment Gives Man Ability To Walk Again

First-Of-Its-Kind Treatment Gives Man Ability To Walk Again

Newsy (Oct. 21, 2014) A medical team has for the first time given a man the ability to walk again after transplanting cells from his brain onto his severed spinal cord. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
CDC Issues New Ebola Guidelines for Health Workers

CDC Issues New Ebola Guidelines for Health Workers

Reuters - US Online Video (Oct. 21, 2014) The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has set up new guidelines for health workers taking care of patients infected with Ebola. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
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


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

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