This protein enables the repair of DNA


A special protein seems to enable the repair of DNA, according to the results of a joint study by the University of Seville, the University of Murcia and the University of Marburg. The study was published in the renowned English language journal “Current Biology”.

Now a new protein has been identified which actually enables the repair of DNA. This special protein is not only able to repair DNA but also to take over various other functions within cells.

Ultraviolet radiation can damage DNA and lead to mutations that disrupt cell function and allow cancer cells to grow uncontrolled. Human cells have DNA repair systems to defend themselves against this type of damage. One of these systems is photolysis. Photolysis is based on a special protein that uses blue light to repair DNA damage before it can lead to mutations, the researchers explain in a press release.

In the course of evolution, the genes for photolysis doubled and became more specialized, resulting in new proteins, the so-called cryptochromes. These have refined their ability to perceive blue light and are able to perform other functions in the cells.

This is how the body protects itself against damage to the DNA

For example, cryptochromes use blue light as a signal to regulate plant growth and the rhythm that controls the daily activity (the circadian rhythm) of fungi and animals, explain the researchers.

The research group found that in the fungus Mucor circinelloides, a human pathogen, cryptochrome is the protein responsible for DNA repair after exposure to ultraviolet radiation. This function should actually be performed by photolysis.

The cryptochromes in this fungus appear to have received their DNA repair ability during evolution from a cryptochrome that was not actually able to repair DNA, experts suspect. This discovery illustrates how proteins change as their functions evolve. (as)

Can DNA be repaired with the help of a protein?
WashingtonNewsday Health and Wellness


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