Wed, Jun 25, 2008 - Page 2 News List

Scientists help in DNA damage research

STAFF WRITER, WITH CNA

Researchers from Taiwan, Australia and the US have identified a new mechanism in DNA damage response that will help the understanding the cause of cancer, an Academia Sinica researcher said yesterday.

The “phospho-counting” mechanism was discovered by the team led by Tsai Ming-daw (蔡明道), a research fellow at the Genomics Research Center.

The team’s research paper was published by the journal Molecular Cell.

The paper said when DNA damage occurs, a mechanism launches a repair response to restore the DNA sequences. If the mechanism fails, the damaged DNA can lead to the development of cancer.

Tsai said that similar mechanisms have been discovered before; however, the phospho-counting mechanism carried out by Rad53 kinase is the first one that is found to function in stages.

Tsai said that when Rad53 — a key factor in repairing DNA — has a single phosphate added to it, monophosphorylated, only the Rad53 becomes active and the subsequent repair process remains dormant.

But when Rad53 is diphosphorylated, both the Rad53 and the repair response will be activated, he said.

More research is required, but the findings will help understand how cells respond to DNA damage and how it leads to the formation of cancerous tumors, Tsai said.

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