HYDERABAD: In a significant development, a team of researchers from the Indian Institute of Technology-Hyderabad (IIT-H) has discovered the working of a protein that repairs damaged Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA) in the body. A long molecule that holds all our genetic code, DNA, is also the blueprint of the life form. Any damage to the DNA can cause a range of diseases and mutations. Due to its utmost importance, nature has evolved techniques to not only protect the DNA, but also repair it to an extent. In humans, one such repair mechanism involves activation of a special class of proteins called ‘DNA repair proteins’.
While efforts are being made by researchers and scientists all across the globe to understand how these repair proteins work, in a remarkable achievement, the researchers at IIT-H have discovered the mechanism of action of a protein called, alkB homolog 3 (ALKBH3) that repairs damaged DNA.
Dr Anindya Roy, associate professor, department of biotechnology, who headed the research team says that the retention of DNA integrity is essential for proper function and survival of all organisms. “Protection of DNA is daunting because of the possibility of damage by external sources and the intrinsic instability of DNA itself,” he claims.
Stating that the research will have many benefits, he said, “The knowledge gained from our studies might, in the long term, be beneficial from a cancer therapeutic perspective,” he said. The IIT-H team collaborated with Arun Goyal of IIT Guwahati in the project funded by the Department of Science and Technology (DST). The results have been published in the journal ‘Nucleic Acid Research’ by the duo along with researchers Monisha Mohan, Deepa Akola and Arun Dhillon.