Visualizing DNA repair in action

2013

Challenge

DNA polymerase plays a central role in repairing damaged DNA, making this enzyme a key regulator of genome stability and likely protector against cancer and degenerative diseases. More information about DNA polymerase’s functions and interactions with other molecules is essential to better leverage genome repair mechanisms in developing new therapies.

Advance

IRP researchers led by Samuel H. Wilson, M.D., used a new time-lapse crystallography approach to capture and visualize real-time DNA polymerase activity during DNA synthesis and repair.

Impact

Dr. Wilson’s time-lapse snapshots provide novel insight into how DNA polymerase chooses the correct base when repairing DNA. The images also revealed specific features of the enzyme that are now considered therapeutic targets for regulating repair after stress-induced DNA damage.

Publications

Freudenthal BD, Beard WA, Shock DD, Wilson SH. (2013). Observing a DNA polymerase choose right from wrong. Cell. 154(1), 157-68.