DNA damage is detrimental to genome integrity and can be mutagenic and/or cytotoxic. The latter lies at the etiology of disease but is also the goal of many anti-cancer therapeutics. Consequently understanding this diverse and important group of processes is of paramount importance.Frequently, scientists focus on the initially formed damage. To understand the consequences of DNA damage and its formation, our group begins its investigations by using the reductionist approach of organic chemistry. Generating a single damage site ("lesion") within DNA simplifies studies on DNA damage and facilitates a deeper understanding. Using this strategy, our research group has discovered that in some instances the formation of damaged DNA is only the beginning.For instance, some forms of damaged DNA inactivate repair enzymes. These discoveries provide insight into the chemical bases of drugs that kill cells by producing these forms of DNA damage and inspiration for designing inhibitors of such enzymes. Other DNA lesions react with the histone proteins within nucleosome core particles to produce more biologically deleterious forms of damage. Some of these processes that have been discovered in the test tube have been shown to occur in cells.Overall, combining organic chemistry, biochemistry and cell biology to study damaged DNA facilitates elucidating these biologically important and complex processes, the discovery of previously unrecognized pathways, and the inspiration for designing molecules with useful biological activity.
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Acteur majeur de la recherche, du développement et de l'innovation, le CEA intervient dans quatre grands domaines : énergies bas carbone, défense et sécurité, technologies pour l’information et technologies pour la santé.