Korean researchers have identified the function of a novel protein enzyme called UdgX, which exhibits unusual activity among the Uracil-DNA Glycosylase (UDG) enzymes, which, in turn, repair mutant DNA in cells.
According to the Korea Research Institute of Bioscience and Technology (KRIBB), the research uncovered the existence of a new DNA repair unknown until now, and the researchers expect that it can contribute to cancer treatment and protein engineering through future related studies.
Most organisms store their genetic information in the form of DNA, which uses four bases of ATGC to encrypt genetic information and transmit it to offspring. When a change occurs in the base, however, it can cause an error in the encrypted information and create a mutation. The UDG protein enzyme prevents the mutation in the gene and detects and removes the mutation in the main base, which frequently occurs in the DNA.
Unlike the normal function of the UDG enzyme to restore mutant DNA in cells, the researchers found the role of a protein called 'UdgX' in microorganisms.
The team, led by Professors Woo Eui-jeon at the research institute and Umesh Varshney at the Indian Institute of Science, confirmed that the UdgX protein, a member of the new UDG protein, recognizes the uracil base in the DNA and forms a strong covalent bond in the non-tuberculosis mycobacterium.
"The study identifies the molecular structure of UdgX with the unreported novel activity of the UDG enzyme family and presents a unique biochemical mechanism," Professor Woo said. "These results suggest the possibility of a previously unknown pathway in the gene repair mechanism of the cell."
These new functional proteins can be applied to future cancer gene therapy research and base-editing technology, Woo added.
Nature Chemical Biology published the results of the study.
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