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Current Affairs

Protein that repairs damaged DNA

Date: 28 December 2019 Tags: Miscellaneous

Issue

The Indian Institute of Technology - Hyderabad researchers have explained the working of a protein that repairs damaged DNA.

 

Background

With increasing awareness of the impact of DNA damage on almost all diseases and maladies, there is a worldwide effort to understand how these repair proteins work, both as an academic exercise and as the foundation for therapeutic interventions.

 

Details

  • Nature has evolved techniques to not only protect DNA, but also repair damaged DNA so that a catastrophic damage can be averted.

  • In humans, one such repair mechanism involves activation of a special class of proteins called “DNA repair proteins”.

  • DNA is the blueprint of life form and encodes directions that the life form must take in order to survive and evolve.

  • It is thus essential for the survival of every cell and is usually kept well-protected within the nucleus of cells, and in some non-nuclear parts like the mitochondria.

  • Any damage to DNA can result in outcomes that can range from mild changes that cannot be perceived like a sudden appearance of a harmless mole to catastrophic diseases like cancer.

  • Researchers  firstly discovered the mechanism by which these DNA repair proteins assemble when DNA is under threat.

  • They studied the action of one specific protein called alkB homolog 3, or ALKBH3. It is known that ALKBH3 repairs alkylated DNA containing 1-methyladenosine and 3-methylcytosine through oxidative demethylation, but the mechanism had remained unclear.

  • Further study  found that ALKBH3 has a direct protein-protein interaction with another protein called RAD51C and this interaction stimulates ALKBH3-mediated repair of methyl-adduct located within 3′- tailed DNA.

  • The knowledge gained from the studies might, in the long term, be beneficial from a cancer therapeutic perspective.