Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

'Long distance scanner' for DNA damage discovered, potential to prevent mutation

Date:
February 19, 2014
Source:
University of Bristol
Summary:
A mechanism for preventing mutation within important genes involves long distance scanning of DNA by a molecular motor protein has been identified by researchers. Because the information within the DNA is so important, cells invest a huge amount of effort in repairing the damage before it can cause harm. But because damage is occurring continuously, and the cell does not have limitless resources, the repair activity must be targeted to the regions of greatest need. The research team hope that the mechanistic insights provided by this study will help to explain the complicated genome-wide patterns of mutation that underlie the evolution of new species, also causing dangerous changes in cell behavior.

Scientists at the University of Bristol have discovered that a mechanism for preventing mutation within important genes involves long distance scanning of DNA by a molecular motor protein.

Related Articles


The results, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), show that the method for detecting DNA damage within active genes is more sophisticated than previously thought.

The research team hope that the mechanistic insights provided by this study will help to explain the complicated genome-wide patterns of mutation that underlie the evolution of new species, also causing dangerous changes in cell behaviour.

The genetic information stored within the DNA of all living organisms contains the instructions which ensure cells function correctly. If the DNA is damaged, either by external agents such as the ultraviolet light present in sunshine or by chemical reactions that occur naturally within cells, the instructions can become corrupted by mutations.

Mutations that alter critical genes can lead to diseases such as cancer, or can enable pathogens such as bacteria to acquire new and dangerous characteristics such as antibiotic resistance.

Because the information within the DNA is so important, cells invest a huge amount of effort in repairing the damage before it can cause harm. But because damage is occurring continuously, and the cell does not have limitless resources, the repair activity must be targeted to the regions of greatest need.

When patterns of mutation are studied, it is clear that genes which are switched on are repaired first, with the inactive parts of the genome being repaired much more slowly.

Research over the past 20 years has shown that this two-tier system of repair relies on the ability of the molecular machines that read the active genes, called RNA polymerases, to sense the DNA damage and attract DNA repair systems to the problems that they have detected.

Researchers from the University of Bristol's School of Biochemistry have now shown that a molecular motor protein called Mfd -- the first helper to be attracted by RNA polymerase when it gets into difficulties -- acts as a long distance scanner for DNA damage.

Professor Nigel Savery, who led the group, said "Our results show that the method for detecting DNA damage within active genes is more sophisticated than expected. The pathway that links DNA repair to gene expression has the potential to act over much greater distances than previously thought, because once it has been loaded onto the DNA by an RNA polymerase this first-response motor protein travels for hundreds of base pairs -- the building blocks of the DNA double helix -- in search of damage.

"Our work also provides the first indication that sequences of DNA where RNA polymerases briefly slow down and pause may be acting as signals for the DNA repair proteins to scrutinise the neighbouring DNA particularly carefully."


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. N. M. Haines, Y.-I. T. Kim, A. J. Smith, N. J. Savery. Stalled transcription complexes promote DNA repair at a distance. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2014; DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1322350111

Cite This Page:

University of Bristol. "'Long distance scanner' for DNA damage discovered, potential to prevent mutation." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 19 February 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140219095513.htm>.
University of Bristol. (2014, February 19). 'Long distance scanner' for DNA damage discovered, potential to prevent mutation. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 26, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140219095513.htm
University of Bristol. "'Long distance scanner' for DNA damage discovered, potential to prevent mutation." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140219095513.htm (accessed October 26, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Texas Nurse Nina Pham Cured of Ebola

Texas Nurse Nina Pham Cured of Ebola

AFP (Oct. 25, 2014) — An American nurse who contracted Ebola while caring for a Liberian patient in Texas has been declared free of the virus and will leave the hospital. Duration: 01:01 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Toxin-Packed Stem Cells Used To Kill Cancer

Toxin-Packed Stem Cells Used To Kill Cancer

Newsy (Oct. 25, 2014) — A Harvard University Research Team created genetically engineered stem cells that are able to kill cancer cells, while leaving other cells unharmed. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
IKEA Desk Converts From Standing to Sitting With One Button

IKEA Desk Converts From Standing to Sitting With One Button

Buzz60 (Oct. 24, 2014) — IKEA is out with a new convertible desk that can convert from a sitting desk to a standing one with just the push of a button. Jen Markham explains. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Protective Suits Being Made in China

Ebola Protective Suits Being Made in China

AFP (Oct. 24, 2014) — A factory in China is busy making Ebola protective suits for healthcare workers and others fighting the spread of the virus. Duration: 00:38 Video provided by AFP
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