February 2023: Kupiec: A new study sheds light on DNA replication in yeast
A new article by Prof. Martin Kupiec, Edmond J. Safra member (Life Sciences), sheds new light on the function of the ELG1 gene in baker's yeast.
A new article, published in International Journal of Molecular Sciences from the laboratory of Prof. Martin Kupiec, Edmond J. Safra member (Life Sciences), sheds new light on the function of the ELG1 gene in baker's yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae). This gene plays an important role in DNA replication during cell division and protects the genome from errors and from DNA damage. Like many other genes associated with DNA replication and repair, the ELG1 gene is evolutionarily conserved, and in humans, mutations in this gene cause cancer. Aiming to understand the molecular mechanisms in which this gene is involved, previous studies by the Kupiec lab found that the protein encoded by this gene is responsible for removing a ring called PCNA from the DNA. This ring is a key component in various processes that occur during DNA replication.
In this study, the researchers tested the effects of introduced mutations in the protein, and found that all the phenotypes caused by a lack of function of ELG1 result from the unnecessary prolonged stay of the ring on the DNA, which impairs its activity.
The study of the ELG1 gene, which sits at a central junction of events of genomic instability and the development of cancerous tumors, expands the scientific understanding of the development of cancerous processes, allowing us in the future to improve the ability to predict, detect, and treat cancerous tumors.