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

hways, known as ATM-Chk2 and ATR-Chk1, govern the cell's response and repair of double-strand DNA breaks and other types of DNA damage or replication stress respectively. The molecular mechanisms underlying the ATR-Chk1 checkpoint activation include the uncoupling of DNA helicase and polymerase activities and DNA end resection of double-strand breaks.

"The significance of what we have found is that there is a third, previously unknown trigger for ATR-Chk1 checkpoint pathway, and this novel mechanism is discovered in the context of oxidative stress," Yan said.

In particular, Yan's team discovered that under conditions of oxidative stress (in the presence of hydrogen peroxide) a base excision repair protein known as APE2 plays unexpected roles in the checkpoint response: single-strand DNA generation and Chk1 association. The protein was previously known to be involved in the DNA repair of oxidative damage, but not to extent revealed in the study's findings. The distinct role of APE2 in the single-strand DNA generation in 3' to 5' direction is referred to as single-strand break end resection ("SSB end resection") by the authors.

The study involved experiments performed with Xenopus laves (the African clawed frog, a species commonly used as a lab animal) egg extracts an experimental system that Yan's lab has developed for studying DNA repair and checkpoint mechanisms in a cell-free conditions. Xenopus is useful because it is a vertebrate (and thus quite similar to humans in cell biology), and its egg cells can be easily produced and manipulated.

Yan is hopeful that this research will open new avenues to pharmacological strategies in drug development for cancer and neurodegenerative diseases.


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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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