Sunday, July 16, 2023

The Simplest Animal with Accelerated DNA Repair in The Presence of Ionizing Radiation

    Cancer affects millions of people across the world and available treatments can only do so much to mediate symptoms and stall its progression. However, there is a multicellular organism that has shown to successfully maneuver cell damage and there is no recorded observation of these simple animals overly affected by cancer due to their reparative mechanisms. The Trichoplax adhaerens reproduces asexually, which may have you think its species would be more susceptible to cancer than humans yet that has not been the case. In this study, the expression of reparative genes and those that incite apoptosis have shown to increase with exposure to radiation. Although exposure has caused morphological change in the organism, it is able to extrude these mutations from its body. 

    The transcriptome analysis compared gene expression at difference rates of radiation exposure. Among the genes analyzed were those that share functional characteristics to human genes, which act as tumor suppressors and function in DNA repair. Some ortholog genes are not well known in humans, yet the study suggests that one in particular, EMC2, functions in response to cell damage. The study states that, "The function of EMC2 is not well known in humans, but our results suggest that at least one of its functions may be X-ray damage response." Studying T. adhaerens' resistance could aid in identifying genes that act in DNA repair and apoptosis in humans given the orthologous genes present. How cancer treatments are conducted could improve and/or could be supplemented by further analysis of T. adhaerens.

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