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November 24, 2015

XPC DNA repair protein shown in two modes

This graphic shows the DNA repair protein xeroderma pigmentosum C, or XPC, in two modes: patrolling undamaged DNA (in green) and bound to a DNA damage site (magenta, with blue XPC insert opening the site). The sun behind the molecule is a reminder that the sun is the primary source of lesions recognized by XPC.

More about this image
Sites where DNA is damaged may cause a molecule that slides along the DNA strand to scan for damage to slow on its patrol, delaying it long enough to recognize and initiate repair. This finding by researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago suggests that the delay itself may be the key that allows the protein molecule to find its target.

XPC is important for the repair of DNA damaged by environmental stresses like the chemicals in cigarette smoke and pollutants, which makes it important for preventing cancers the researchers say. Dysfunctional XPC may lead to a 1,000-fold increase in the risk of skin cancer.

The research was supported in part by National Science Foundation (NSF) grants MCB 07-21937, MCB 11-58217 and MCB 14-12692.

To learn more, see the NSF News From the Field story Damaged DNA may stall patrolling molecule to initiate repair. (Date image taken: January 2015; date originally posted to NSF Multimedia Gallery: Nov. 25, 2015)

Credit: Jung-Hyun Min and Myrna Romero, University of Illinois at Chicago

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