Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Researchers Solve Structure Of An Enzyme Vital For DNA Repair

Date:
August 14, 2008
Source:
Rockefeller University
Summary:
When dividing cells copy their DNA, mistakes can -- and do -- occur. To compensate, cells have a built-in system to correct these errors. That correction process isn't thoroughly understood, but researchers are piecing it together bit by bit.

The Rtt109 enzyme, which is critical for helping cells repair DNA damage, is activated when a specific residue (pink) is modified, allowing it to bind tightly to a domain on the histone.
Credit: Image courtesy of Rockefeller University

When dividing cells copy their DNA, mistakes can — and do — occur. To compensate, cells have a built-in system to correct these errors. That correction process isn’t thoroughly understood, but researchers are piecing it together bit by bit.

Related Articles


Now, in the latest step toward solving this puzzle, Rockefeller University scientists have determined the shape of a protein that plays a critical role in the process, an enzyme called Rtt109. The results, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, include a description of Rtt109’s structure and a theory of how it works.

During the first phase of cell division, tightly wrapped DNA unwinds itself from around the spool-like histones that help control its gene activity and provide structural support. The DNA is duplicated, and the new strands coil themselves around a freshly manufactured histone complex. But when DNA damage occurs, the cell recognizes the damage and uses Rtt109 to modify the nearest histone.

The modification prevents the damaged bit of DNA from wrapping around it too tightly, creating slack that provides access for DNA repair. “It’s a very essential process to be able to repair the DNA,” says Andrι Hoelz, senior author of the paper and a research associate in Gόnter Blobel’s Laboratory of Cell Biology. “Our study addresses one step of this very complicated process. We figured out how a critical enzyme is regulated.”

Determining the structure of Rtt109 and understanding its regulation is key to understanding the complex DNA damage repair machinery, which involves dozens of other proteins working together. “Solving one structure gives you just a snapshot. But if you have several structures, you can understand how they work,” says Hoelz, who collaborated with first author Pete Stavropoulos, a former graduate fellow in the Blobel lab. And by amassing enough data, researchers can begin to understand how other enzymes may be regulated as well.

The research could ultimately lead to the development of drugs for conditions such as cancer, in which rapid cell division goes unchecked and DNA damage from chemotherapy is quickly repaired. “If we can find a way to target the machinery that corrects damage happening during cell division, we could specifically kill those cells undergoing rapid division,” Hoelz says.


Story Source:

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


Cite This Page:

Rockefeller University. "Researchers Solve Structure Of An Enzyme Vital For DNA Repair." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 14 August 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/08/080813202804.htm>.
Rockefeller University. (2008, August 14). Researchers Solve Structure Of An Enzyme Vital For DNA Repair. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/08/080813202804.htm
Rockefeller University. "Researchers Solve Structure Of An Enzyme Vital For DNA Repair." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/08/080813202804.htm (accessed November 28, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Friday, November 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Research on Bats Could Help Develop Drugs Against Ebola

Research on Bats Could Help Develop Drugs Against Ebola

AFP (Nov. 28, 2014) — In Africa's only biosafety level 4 laboratory, scientists have been carrying out experiments on bats to understand how virus like Ebola are being transmitted, and how some of them resist to it. Duration: 01:18 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
New Dinosaur Species Found in Museum Collection

New Dinosaur Species Found in Museum Collection

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 27, 2014) — A British palaeontologist has discovered a new species of dinosaur while studying fossils in a Canadian museum. Pentaceratops aquilonius was related to Triceratops and lived at the end of the Cretaceous Period, around 75 million years ago. Jim Drury has more. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Tryptophan Isn't Making You Sleepy On Thanksgiving

Tryptophan Isn't Making You Sleepy On Thanksgiving

Newsy (Nov. 27, 2014) — Tryptophan, a chemical found naturally in turkey meat, gets blamed for sleepiness after Thanksgiving meals. But science points to other culprits. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Classic Hollywood Memorabilia Goes Under the Hammer

Classic Hollywood Memorabilia Goes Under the Hammer

Reuters - Entertainment Video Online (Nov. 26, 2014) — The iconic piano from "Casablanca" and the Cowardly Lion suit from "The Wizard of Oz" fetch millions at auction. Sara Hemrajani 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

 

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