Posted on Mar 18, 2020, 5 p.m.
Collaborative research from scientists at the University of Sheffield and the University of Oxford that is published in Nature Communications describes a new toolkit that has been discovered which can repair DNA damage that leads to aging, cancer, and motor neuron disease.
The protein TEX264 together with other enzymes is suggested to be able to not only recognize but also eat toxic proteins that stick to DNA and cause damage, accumulation of damaged DNA can cause cellular aging, cancer, and neurological diseases like MND. Ways of repairing such damage have been poorly understood, now scientists hope to be able to utilize this toolkit of proteins to help protect us from neurological disease, cancer, and aging.
Their findings may also have implications for chemotherapy as it causes breaks in DNA when trying to kill off cancerous cells, targeting the TEX264 protein may open new paths in the treatment of cancer.
"Failure to fix DNA breaks in our genome can impact our ability to enjoy a healthy life at an old age, as well as leave us vulnerable to neurological diseases like Motor Neurone Disease (MND). We hope that by understanding how our cells fix DNA breaks, we can help meet some of these challenges, as well as explore new ways of treating cancer in the future,” says co-lead Professor Sherif El-Khamisy from the University of Sheffield.
"Our finding of TEX264, a protein that forms the specialised machinery to digest toxic proteins from our DNA, significantly changes the current understanding of how cells repair the genome and so protect us from accelerated ageing, cancer and neurodegeneration. I believe this discovery has a great potential for cancer therapy in the future and we are already pursuing our research in this direction. "I am very proud of my research team who initially discovered the involvement of TEX264 in DNA repair,” says co-lead Professor Kristijan Ramadan from the University of Oxford.
Next step of this work includes testing if the behaviour and properties of the TEX264 protein are altered in aging and in neurological disorders such as motor neuron disease.
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