A research group led by Professor Hitoshi Kurumizaka and Assistant Professor Akihisa Osakabe (Waseda University) discovered the mechanism by which damaged DNA induced by ultraviolet (UV) light is recognized within chromatin structure. Collaborators on this research include Associate Professor Wataru Kagawa (Meisei University), Professor Kaoru Sugasawa (Kobe University), Professor Shigenori Iwai (Osaka University), Professor Fumio Hanaoka (Gakushuin University), and Dr. Nicolas H. Thomä (Group Leader at Friedrich Miesher Institute for Biomedical Research).
This year three scientists were awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for mapping at a molecular level how damaged DNA was repaired. Nucleotide excision repair is a multistep process that repairs UV-damaged DNA and safeguards genetic information. The group led by Professor Hitoshi Kurumizaka and Assistant Professor Akihisa Osakabe built upon this research and discovered that UV-damaged DNA was very flexible, and UV-DDB, the surveillance protein in nucleotide excision repair, recognizes the flexible damaged DNA structure within chromatin. This discovery will greatly contribute to the understanding of skin cancer in xeroderma pigmentosum patients with a gene mutation caused by deficiencies in nucleotide excision repair.The results of this research will provide fundamental information necessary for treatment of skin cancer.
This research was published in Scientific Reports (Nature Publishing Group) under the title “Structural basis of pyrimidine-pyrimidone (6-4) photoproduct recognition by UV-DDB in the nucleosome.”