Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Scientists show how cells protect DNA from catastrophic damage

Date:
November 21, 2013
Source:
University of Copenhagen
Summary:
Researchers have unveiled a profound biological process that explains how DNA can be damaged during genome replication. In addition, the scientists developed a new analytical tool to measure the cell's response to chemotherapy, which could have an important impact on future cancer therapy.

The scientists were able to visualize the process of DNA replication and damage directly in cells with an unprecedented detail.
Credit: University of Copenhagen

Researchers at the University of Copenhagen have unveiled a profound biological process that explains how DNA can be damaged during genome replication. In addition, the scientists developed a new analytical tool to measure the cell's response to chemotherapy, which could have an important impact on future cancer therapy. The results are now published in the scientific journal Cell.

An international team of researchers led by Professor Jiri Lukas from the Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Protein Research, University of Copenhagen have unveiled a process that explains how DNA can be damaged during genome replication, due to the lack of a critical protein.

Cells need to keep their genomic DNA unharmed to stay healthy and the scientists were able to visualize the process of DNA replication and damage directly in cells with an unprecedented detail. They discovered a fundamental mechanism of how proteins protect chromosomes while DNA is being copied (a process called DNA replication), which relies on a protein called RPA. Cells have a limited amount of this protein, which they use as 'band aids' to protect the DNA temporarily during replication. If they use up the RPA reservoir, their DNA breaks severely and cells are no longer able to divide.

"We now understand that many drugs used in chemotherapy are toxic against tumours because they make DNA replication difficult and force cancer cells to consume their RPA pool much faster than normal cells usually do. As a result, cancer cells are constantly at the verge of falling into a 'replication catastrophe', a condition from which they cannot recover, and which can be used as a powerful means to selectively eliminate cancer cells," says Luis Ignacio Toledo, the first author of this study.

Future impact on cancer diagnosis and treatment

In addition to helping other scientists to comprehend some of the most fundamental processes in cell physiology, the findings could have important implications for cancer diagnosis and treatment by helping understand, at the molecular level, what makes cancer cells different from normal cells.

"The relevance of our discovery is that it provides an explanation for a broad spectrum of previous scientific observations, which on the first glance seemed unrelated, but which we now show can be unified into a simple comprehensive model to understand how proteins protect DNA from catastrophic damage," concludes Luis Ignacio Toledo.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. LuisIgnacio Toledo, Matthias Altmeyer, Maj-Britt Rask, Claudia Lukas, DortheHelena Larsen, LouKlitgaard Povlsen, Simon Bekker-Jensen, Niels Mailand, Jiri Bartek, Jiri Lukas. ATR Prohibits Replication Catastrophe by Preventing Global Exhaustion of RPA. Cell, 2013; 155 (5): 1088 DOI: 10.1016/j.cell.2013.10.043

Cite This Page:

University of Copenhagen. "Scientists show how cells protect DNA from catastrophic damage." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 21 November 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131121130031.htm>.
University of Copenhagen. (2013, November 21). Scientists show how cells protect DNA from catastrophic damage. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131121130031.htm
University of Copenhagen. "Scientists show how cells protect DNA from catastrophic damage." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131121130031.htm (accessed July 31, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Visitors Feel Part of the Pack at Wolf Preserve

Visitors Feel Part of the Pack at Wolf Preserve

AP (July 31, 2014) Seacrest Wolf Preserve on the northern Florida panhandle allows more than 10,000 visitors each year to get up close and personal with Arctic and British Columbian Wolves. (July 31) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Florida Panther Rebound Upsets Ranchers

Florida Panther Rebound Upsets Ranchers

AP (July 31, 2014) With Florida's panther population rebounding, some ranchers complain the protected predators are once again killing their calves. (July 31) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida

Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida

AP (July 31, 2014) Sarasota County, Florida health officials have issued a warning against eating raw oysters and exposing open wounds to coastal and inland waters after a dangerous bacteria killed one person and made another sick. (July 31) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle

Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle

AP (July 30, 2014) Thousands of people are trekking to a Bavarian farmer's field to check out a mysterious set of crop circles. (July 30) 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:
from the past week

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