Scientists discover novel mechanism that protects mitochondrial DNAOctober 12, 2017
Researchers at the University of Eastern Finland have discovered a novel mechanism safeguarding mitochondrial DNA. The study, published in PNAS earlier this week, was carried out in close collaboration with research groups from CBMSO in Madrid, Spain, and Umeå University in Sweden. A central part of the protective mechanism is an unusual enzyme, PrimPol, which can re-initiate mitochondrial DNA replication after damage.
Besides nuclear genomic DNA, mitochondria also contain their own small genomes, mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA), which encodes for thirteen essential parts of the cellular respiration machinery. mtDNA is especially vulnerable to oxidative damage as it is located close to the free radical producing mitochondrial electron transport chain. Cells protect their mitochondria by repairing mtDNA as well as constantly making new copies of it to replace the damaged molecules. Although cells are able to tolerate DNA damage, problems might arise when the DNA is replicated. Certain types of damage can stall the replication machinery before all of the genome has been replicated. This can result in double-strand breaks in DNA, resulting in the loss of partially replicated parts of the genome. In mitochondria this partial loss, or deletion, causes dysfunction of the cellular respiration and is the driving pathological mechanism behind many mitochondrial diseases but also responsible for aging associated decline of cell function.
Researchers were able to show that a primase enzyme PrimPol can generate a new primer adjacent to the damaged DNA sequence and re-initiate stalled replication in mitochondria. PrimPol itself is a highly unusual, structurally ancient primase, which can synthetize DNA primers in contrast to RNA primers synthetized by all other primases in our cells. Not only does the new study change our perceptions of PrimPol's functions, it also helps us to understand the basic mechanisms of mtDNA maintenance.
"As mtDNA often suffers collateral damage from cytostatins used during cancer treatment or antibiotics targeting bacteria, understanding of the repair mechanisms can help in developing these treatments," says Dr Jaakko Pohjoismäki from the University of Eastern Finland.
"Heart cells or cardiomyocytes are especially vulnerable to the loss of mitochondrial function, and enhanced protection of mtDNA could also shield diseased hearts," he continues.
Dr Jaakko Pohjoismäki, University of Eastern Finland, email: jaakko.pohjoismaki(at)uef.fi, tel. +358 50 5744745
Dr Sjoerd Wanrooij, Umeå University, email: sjoerd.wanrooij(at)umu.se
PrimPol is required for replication reinitiation after mtDNA damage.
Rubén Torregrosa-Muñumer, Josefin M. E. Forslund, Steffi Goffarta, Annika Pfeiffer, Gorazd Stojkovič, Gustavo Carvalho, Natalie Al-Furoukh, Luis Blanco, Sjoerd Wanrooij and Jaakko L. O. Pohjoismäki. PNAS. DOI 10.1073/pnas.1705367114
University of Eastern Finland
Related Dna Articles:
New license-free tools will allow researchers to estimate the size of DNA fragments for a fraction of the cost of currently available methods.
How can long DNA filaments, which have convoluted and highly knotted structure, manage to pass through the tiny pores of biological systems?
Since a couple of decades, metal-containing drugs have been successfully used to fight against certain types of cancer.
A Caltech-led study has shown that the electrical wire-like behavior of DNA is involved in the molecule's replication.
DNA, the stuff of life, may very well also pack quite the jolt for engineers trying to advance the development of tiny, low-cost electronic devices.
Northwestern University biomedical engineers have developed imaging technology that is the first to see DNA 'blink,' or fluoresce.
A Salk team developed a tool that maps functional areas of the genome to better understand disease.
In a carefully designed polymer, researchers at the Institute of Physical Chemistry of the Polish Academy of Sciences have imprinted a sequence of a single strand of DNA.
The African clawed frog X. laevis genome contains two full sets of chromosomes from two extinct ancestors.
Church's team at Harvard's Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering and the Harvard Medical School developed a new electronic DNA sequencing platform based on biologically engineered nanopores that could help overcome present limitations.
Related Dna Reading:
The Family Tree Guide to DNA Testing and Genetic Genealogy
by Blaine T. Bettinger (Author)
Unlock the secrets in your DNA!
Discover the answers to your family history mysteries using the most-cutting edge tool available. This plain-English guide is a one-stop resource for how to use DNA testing for genealogy. Inside, you'll find guidance on what DNA tests are available, plus the methodologies and pros and cons of the three major testing companies and advice on choosing the right test to answer your specific genealogy questions. And once you've taken a DNA test, this guide will demystify the often-overwhelming subject and explain how to interpret DNA test results,... View Details
DNA: The Story of the Genetic Revolution
by James D. Watson (Author), Andrew Berry (Author), Kevin Davies (Author)
The definitive insider's history of the genetic revolution--significantly updated to reflect the discoveries of the last decade.
James D. Watson, the Nobel laureate whose pioneering work helped unlock the mystery of DNA's structure, charts the greatest scientific journey of our time, from the discovery of the double helix to today's controversies to what the future may hold. Updated to include new findings in gene editing, epigenetics, agricultural chemistry, as well as two entirely new chapters on personal genomics and cancer research. This is the most comprehensive and... View Details
The Four: The Hidden DNA of Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google
by Scott Galloway (Author)
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
USA TODAY BESTSELLER
Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google are the four most influential companies on the planet. Just about everyone thinks they know how they got there. Just about everyone is wrong.
For all that’s been written about the Four over the last two decades, no one has captured their power and staggering success as insightfully as Scott Galloway.
Instead of buying the myths these companies broadcast, Galloway asks fundamental questions. How did the Four infiltrate our lives so completely that... View Details
The Cosmic Serpent: DNA and the Origins of Knowledge
by Jeremy Narby (Author)
This adventure in science and imagination, which the Medical Tribune said might herald "a Copernican revolution for the life sciences," leads the reader through unexplored jungles and uncharted aspects of mind to the heart of knowledge.In a first-person narrative of scientific discovery that opens new perspectives on biology, anthropology, and the limits of rationalism, The Cosmic Serpent reveals how startlingly different the world around us appears when we open our minds to it. View Details
DNA Science: A First Course, Second Edition
by David Micklos (Author), Greg Freyer (Author)
This is the second edition of a highly successful textbook (over 50,000 copies sold) in which a highly illustrated, narrative text is combined with easytouse thoroughly reliable laboratory protocols. It contains a fully uptodate collection of 12 rigorously tested and reliable lab experiments in molecular biology, developed at the internationally renowned Dolan DNA Learning Center of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, which culminate in the construction and cloning of a recombinant DNA molecule. Proven through more than 10 years of teaching at research and nonresearch colleges and universities,... View Details
DNA (Science Readers: Content and Literacy)
by Teacher Created Materials;Wendy Conklin (Author)
DNA is known as the blueprint for life! Found in every cell of every living thing, DNA strands are packed inside a cell’s nucleus carrying instructions and genetic information. Climb the double helix ladder and crack the DNA code in this fact-filled life science book to explore genetics and why parts of you may appear identical to your great, great, great grandparent. Fifth-grade readers will learn about DNA structure and replication, proteins and genes, chromosomes, inherited traits and alleles, cloning, and more through this high-interest informational text filled with vibrant... View Details
The DNA of Relationships
by Gary Smalley (Author)
“Life is relationships; the rest is just details.” We are designed for relationships, yet they often bring us pain. In this paradigm-shifting book, Dr. Gary Smalley unravels the DNA of relationships: We are made for three great relationships―with God, others, and ourselves―and all relationships involve choice. Gary exposes a destructive relationship dance that characterizes nearly every relationship conflict, and he offers five new dance steps that will revolutionize relationships. The DNA of Relationships, the cornerstone book in Gary Smalley's relationship campaign, will help you... View Details
The Innovator's DNA: Mastering the Five Skills of Disruptive Innovators
by Jeff Dyer (Author), Hal Gregersen (Author), Clayton M. Christensen (Author)
A new classic, cited by leaders and media around the globe as a highly recommended read for anyone interested in innovation.
In The Innovator’s DNA, authors Jeffrey Dyer, Hal Gregersen, and bestselling author Clayton Christensen (The Innovator’s Dilemma, The Innovator’s Solution, How Will You Measure Your Life?) build on what we know about disruptive innovation to show how individuals can develop the skills necessary to move progressively from idea to impact.
By identifying behaviors of the world’s best innovatorsfrom leaders at Amazon and... View Details
Move Your DNA: Restore Your Health Through Natural Movement Expanded Edition
by Katy Bowman (Author)
Humorous, fascinating, and science based, the bestselling first edition of Move Your DNA has been updated and expanded to include a comprehensive three-level exercise program.
In layperson-friendly terms Move Your DNA addresses the vast quantities of disease we are suffering from, identifying our lack of movement as the primary cause. Readers can use the corrective exercises and lifestyle changes Katy Bowman has created to help each of us transition to healthy, naturally moving bodies. Move Your DNA explains the science behind our need for natural movement right down... View Details
DNA: The Secret of Life
by James D. Watson (Author)
James Watson, the co-discoverer of the structure of DNA and author of the international bestseller The Double Helix, tells the story of the amazing molecule since its discovery fifty years ago, following modern genetics from his own Nobel prize-winning work in the fifties to today's Dolly the sheep, designer babies and GM foods. Professor Watson introduces the science of modern genetics, along with its history and its implications, in this magnificent guide to one of the most triumphant achievements of human science. View Details