Russian scientists have reportedly discovered a new technique of DNA repair by which neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s may be forestalled and even cured.
"Early detection and repair of damaged DNA is essential for cell functioning and survival," concludes a study by a Russian research team titled, “Structure of transcribed chromatin is a sensor of DNA damage,” and published Sunday in the Science Advances journal.
The study raises the question of single-strand breaks (SSBs) which are referred to in the paper as "common DNA damages generated during various processes of cell metabolism."
According to the study, "Unrepaired SSBs can interfere with transcription, replication, and DNA repair; induce accumulation of double-stranded DNA breaks; increase genomic instability and apoptosis [process of programmed cell death]; and lead to severe neurodegenerative diseases."
Common examples of neurodegenerative diseases are Alzheimer's, Parkinson's as well as spinal muscular atrophy.
Professor Vasily Studitsky of the Lomonosov Moscow State University, who led the research team that conducted the study, told science portal psys.org that his team of scientists "has shown, not yet in the cell but in vitro, that the repair of breaks in the other DNA chain, which is 'hidden' in the nucleosome, is still possible."
"According to our hypothesis, it occurs due to the formation of special small DNA loops in the nucleosome, although normally DNA wounds around the histone 'spool' very tightly," he added.
The study also concludes that such observations "raise the possibility that nucleosomal structure could affect the process of detection and repair of DNA damages."
Authors of the research say their findings can suggest the "existence of a chromatin-specific, transcription-dependent mechanism that allows detection of NT-SSBs that are otherwise hidden in the chromatin structure."