Researchers find that moving DNA helps repair damage in the human nucleus
The movement of chromatin, the substance from which DNA is formed, may aid in the efficient repair of DNA damage in the human nucleus, according to a multidisciplinary team of researchers from Indiana University. This result may improve the detection and treatment of cancer. The findings were recently published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
DNA damage occurs naturally in the human body and most damage can be repaired by the cell itself. However, an unsuccessful repair could lead to cancer. “DNA in the nucleus is always in motion, not static. The movement of its higher-order complex, chromatin, has a direct role in influencing DNA repair,” said Jing Liu, Assistant Professor of Physics at the IUPUI School of Science. “In yeast, previous research shows that DNA damage promotes chromatin movement and its high mobility also facilitates DNA repair. However, in human cells, this relationship is more complicated.”
Liu and his colleagues found that chromatin at the site of DNA damage moves much faster than those moving away from DNA damage. They also discovered that chromatin in cell nuclei does not move randomly. It is a coherent movement, the DNA moving in groups over a short distance. Researchers have also found evidence that DNA damage can affect DNA group movement by reducing coherence. These results indicate that chromatin movement is under tight control when DNA is damaged. This is important to prevent damaged DNA from having harmful contact and to improve the accuracy and efficiency of DNA repair, Liu said.
“Our findings reveal a fundamental role of chromatin movement in DNA damage response and DNA repair,” Liu said. “These results can help to understand the mechanism of DNA repair in human cells and the initiation of cancer in humans. In practice, we can use these results as parameters of the drug response of many different drugs used to treat cancer. We can test different drugs to see if chromatin movement can be altered to improve DNA repair.” In order to conduct this research, Liu and his colleagues had to develop the computer tools needed to analyze massive amounts of data. With data sizes of up to a terabyte in some cases, Liu and his colleagues worked with IU University’s Information Technology Services to establish the highly scalable cellular image data archive. dynamic, which centralizes the storage, transfer and processing of data.
In the future, researchers hope to study single DNA molecules and how they move, and how individual and group dynamics differ and change in response to DNA damage. They would also like to know more about DNA movement in specific genes known to be more vulnerable to DNA damage. (ANI)
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