Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Surprising New Insights Into The Repair Strategies Of DNA

Date:
July 16, 2009
Source:
University of Nottingham
Summary:
A microscopic single-celled organism, adapted to survive in some of the harshest environments on earth, could help scientists gain a better understanding of how cancer cells behave.

A microscopic single-celled organism, adapted to survive in some of the harshest environments on earth, could help scientists gain a better understanding of how cancer cells behave.

Related Articles


Experts at The University of Nottingham were astonished to discover that the archaeon Haloferax volcanii was better at repairing DNA damage if enzymes, that are widely considered to be critically important in coordinating the repair of DNA, were mutated.

Dr Thorsten Allers, from the Institute of Genetics, said: “These results surprised us. It is the first time, as far as we know, that anybody has found such resistance to DNA damage in mutant cells. Normally, cells that are missing enzymes for DNA repair become more sensitive to DNA damage.”

Like cancer cells, archaea are polyploid — which means they contain more than two sets of chromosomes. Although similar in structure and appearance to bacteria, archaea share a common ancestor with eukaryotes, which include plant and animals. This kinship is at its closest in the way archaea process DNA. Although Dr Allers’s discovery is at the basic biological level, it is the similarities with cancer cells that make him convinced that scientists have much more to learn from archaea.

Discovered just 32 years ago, there are less then 200 experts around the world studying archaea. On the other hand, the mechanisms by which cells perform the repair of DNA breaks has been the subject of decades of research using bacterial and eukaryotic cells. We are only just beginning to learn how this process works in archaea.

DNA breaks can be caused by, among other things, radiation, UV rays and chemotherapy. Dr Allers said: “All organisms can use enzymes to simply glue the broken strands of DNA back together, but this is prone to error and can give rise to mutations which cause cancer. The alternative is to perform a kind of molecular gymnastics called recombination, where healthy strands of matching DNA are used to repair the broken ends. This is a complicated and time-consuming strategy to mend DNA, but avoids mutations. When the enzymes that carry out recombination are defective, cancer can develop more easily. This is what happens in patients with mutations in the BRCA breast cancer genes.”

Dr Allers’s research, published in the journal PLoS Genetics, shows how, unlike other organisms, Haloferax volcanii deliberately avoids using recombination to repair DNA breaks. His results suggest that other polyploid organisms, such as cancer cells, might work in much the same way. What scientists need to know now is why.


Story Source:

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


Cite This Page:

University of Nottingham. "Surprising New Insights Into The Repair Strategies Of DNA." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 July 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/07/090715131606.htm>.
University of Nottingham. (2009, July 16). Surprising New Insights Into The Repair Strategies Of DNA. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 4, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/07/090715131606.htm
University of Nottingham. "Surprising New Insights Into The Repair Strategies Of DNA." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/07/090715131606.htm (accessed March 4, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Adults Only Get The Flu Twice A Decade, Researchers Say

Adults Only Get The Flu Twice A Decade, Researchers Say

Newsy (Mar. 4, 2015) Researchers found adults only get the flu about once every five years. Scientists analyzed how a person&apos;s immunity builds up over time as well. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Mount Everest Has a Poop Problem

Mount Everest Has a Poop Problem

Buzz60 (Mar. 4, 2015) With no bathrooms to use, climbers of Mount Everest have been leaving human waste on the mountain for years, and it&apos;s becoming a health issue. Mike Janela (@mikejanela) has more. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Obamacare's New Supreme Court Battle

Obamacare's New Supreme Court Battle

Washington Post (Mar. 4, 2015) The Affordable Care Act is facing another challenge at the Supreme Court in King v. Burwell, which deals with subsidies for health insurance. The case could cut out a major provision of Obamacare, causing the law to unravel. Here’s what you need to know about the case. Video provided by Washington Post
Powered by NewsLook.com
Mom Triumphs Over Tragedy, Helps Other Families

Mom Triumphs Over Tragedy, Helps Other Families

AP (Mar. 3, 2015) After her son, Dax, died from a rare form of leukemia, Julie Locke decided to give back to the doctors at St. Jude Children&apos;s Research Hospital who tried to save his life. She raised $1.6M to help other patients and their families. (March 3) 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


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