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New findings regarding DNA damage checkpoint mechanism in oxidative stress
Date:6/14/2013

In current health lore, antioxidants are all the rage, as "everybody knows" that reducing the amount of "reactive oxygen species" -- cell-damaging molecules that are byproducts of cellular metabolism -- is critical to staying healthy. What everyone doesn't know is that our bodies already have a complex set of processes built into our cells that handle these harmful byproducts of living and repair the damage they cause.

For example, few of us realize that, while our cells' DNA is constantly being damaged by reactive oxygen species (as well as by other forces), there are also complex mechanisms that constantly assess that damage and make repairs to our fragile genetic material at least 10,000 times a day in every cell in our bodies. The vital biochemical processes by which this constant DNA repair takes place are still only partially understood because of their complexity, speed, and the difficulty of studying complex interactions within living cells. Moreover, it remains unknown how cells sense the oxidatively damaged DNA in the first place.

In an article published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) a research team from University of North Carolina at Charlotte announced that they had uncovered a previously unknown surveillance mechanism, known as a DNA damage checkpoint, used by cells to monitor oxidatively damaged DNA. The finding, first-authored by UNC Charlotte biology graduate student Jeremy Willis and undergraduate honors student Yogin Patel, was also co-authored by undergraduate honors student Barry L. Lentz and assistant professor of biology Shan Yan.

"DNA damage is the underlying pathology in many major human diseases, including cancers and neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's, so arriving at a full understanding of the sophisticated mechanisms that cells usually employ to avoid such disastrous outcomes is important," Yan noted.

Two biochemical pat
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Contact: James Hathaway
jbhathaw@uncc.edu
704-687-5743
University of North Carolina at Charlotte
Source:Eurekalert

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