Oncology & Cancer

Identifying survivors at high risk of secondary cancers

Scientists at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital are studying the combined effect of cancer treatments and inherited mutations in DNA-repair genes. Their results may help predict which survivors are at increased risk of ...

Oncology & Cancer

Scientists reveal how mutations in metabolism can drive cancers

Our cells have several ways to repair DNA that breaks when the cells divide. However, genetic mutations can disable these DNA repair mechanisms, destabilize the cells, and trigger cancer. In a paper published today in the ...

Neuroscience

Study finds that aging neurons accumulate DNA damage

MIT neuroscientists have discovered that an enzyme called HDAC1 is critical for repairing age-related DNA damage to genes involved in memory and other cognitive functions. This enzyme is often diminished in both Alzheimer's ...

Medications

Countering the negative effects of a common antidepressant

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRI's, are popular drugs that treat depression by increasing the amount of a neurotransmitter called serotonin in the brain. But when a common SSRI known as sertraline is taken ...

page 1 from 31

DNA repair

DNA repair refers to a collection of processes by which a cell identifies and corrects damage to the DNA molecules that encode its genome. In human cells, both normal metabolic activities and environmental factors such as UV light and Radiation can cause DNA damage, resulting in as many as 1 million individual molecular lesions per cell per day. Many of these lesions cause structural damage to the DNA molecule and can alter or eliminate the cell's ability to transcribe the gene that the affected DNA encodes. Other lesions induce potentially harmful mutations in the cell's genome, which affect the survival of its daughter cells after it undergoes mitosis. Consequently, the DNA repair process is constantly active as it responds to damage in the DNA structure.

The rate of DNA repair is dependent on many factors, including the cell type, the age of the cell, and the extracellular environment. A cell that has accumulated a large amount of DNA damage, or one that no longer effectively repairs damage incurred to its DNA, can enter one of three possible states:

The DNA repair ability of a cell is vital to the integrity of its genome and thus to its normal functioning and that of the organism. Many genes that were initially shown to influence lifespan have turned out to be involved in DNA damage repair and protection. Failure to correct molecular lesions in cells that form gametes can introduce mutations into the genomes of the offspring and thus influence the rate of evolution.

This text uses material from Wikipedia, licensed under CC BY-SA