Related topics: cancer cells · cells · dna repair · breast cancer · cancer

Developing tools to visualize DNA repair as never before

Each one of the trillions of cells that make up the human body suffers more than 10,000 DNA lesions every day. These injuries would be catastrophic if cells were unable to repair them, but a very delicate machinery that detects ...

A bacterial toxin that acts as a mediator rather than a killer

Traditionally, bacterial toxins have been seen as killers of target cells. But is there more than meets the eye? Umeå University Professor Teresa Frisan and her team have discovered that toxin-host interactions are more ...

One enzyme dictates cells' response to a probable carcinogen: study

In the past few years, several medications have been found to be contaminated with NDMA, a probable carcinogen. This chemical, which has also been found at Superfund sites and in some cases has spread to drinking water supplies, ...

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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.

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