Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Stressed out: Scientist Details Cells’ Response to Lesions

If you’ve ever taken a biology class whether in high school or college, then DNA replication should be something you are already familiar with, but just incase that file is somewhere lost in your memory bank, here’s a quick reminder on how DNA replication works. The DNA strand replicates by unzipping its two intertwined strands and makes copies of each strand. Sometimes these strands run into obstacles such as lesions that block the strands progress. Now that we’re all caught up on how DNA replication works, lets discussion the importance of lesions. These lesions that DNA runs into pose a serious threat to our cells, but as wonderful as the human body is, our cells have evolved a marvelous mechanism to cope with these lesions. Usually after a stressful day or period of time, we naturally tend to do something to get our minds off of stress: going to the mall, watching a movie, taking a hot shower, or meditation. Our cells have a different approach when they deal with replication stress. The cellular stress-busters include fork repriming, fork reversal, fork degradation and backtracking, replication-fork breakage, and replisome dynamics during replication-fork restart (Vindagni 2016).

These forms of “stress-relief” for our cells allow them the opportunity to fix the obstacles in their paths and avoid passing along genetic mistakes to their daughter cells. The effects of improper repair of DNA lesions include loss of genetic information, mutations, abnormal chromosome structures which can result in premature gaining, cancer, and genetic abnormalities.

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