New mechanism discovered restores cell function after Genome damage

The change in DNA structure plays a decisive role in the recovery phase after DNA damage, discovers a research team at Cologne. The key to this is double occupancy by two methyl groups on the DNA packaging protein histone H3. Due to this specific change, it enables genes to be reactivated and proteins to be produced after damage. As a result, cells recover their balance and the organism regains. Meanwhile, the protective role of histone H3 identified in experiments with nematode Caenorhabditits elegans.

Malfunctions in congenital DNA repair can lead to diseases

In fact, the genome of every human cell is damaged on a daily basis. Some of the effects of damage of DNA are cancer and accelerated aging. For example, malfunctions of DNA repair from birth can lead to extremely speedy aging in rare hereditary diseases. Hence, reconstruction and preservation processes are particularly important to maintain tissue function and ensure development. DNA – which is laid out on packaging proteins histones – is regulated by methyl groups. Meanwhile, a number of proteins are responsible for placing or removing methyl groups on histones. The activity of genes is affected by the number of groups on the packaging protein, therefore the protein production of the cell.

While experimenting with nematode, after repair of DNA, two methyl groups were largely found on the DNA packages, showed the research team. Furthermore, errors in positioning of the two methyl groups on the histones sped up the damage, including induced aging, found the research team. On the other hand, the increased position of alteration of the histone prolongs the lifespan after DNA damage.

Meanwhile, by controlling the proteins that either remove or set these methyl groups, it could influence DNA damage.