The Role of DNA End Processing Proteins in Drosophila Aging

Date / Time

February 27, 2019

3:30 pm - 4:30 pm

Seminar given by Elyse Bolterstein, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

Biology Department

Northeastern Illinois University

Chicago, IL

Abstract: Chemicals, radiation, and free radicals cause damage to our DNA. If left unchecked, this damage can lead to mutations that can accelerate aging and increase cancer risk. To counteract this DNA damage, cells contain numerous proteins responsible for DNA repair. Of particular interest to our lab are two proteins that process the ends of DNA during repair: WRN and TDP1. In humans, mutations in these proteins lead to the degenerative diseases, Werner syndrome (WS) and spinocerebellar ataxia with axonal neuropathy (SCAN1), respectively. Our lab uses Drosophila mutant in these proteins to elucidate their roles in DNA repair and aging. We have found that like Werner syndrome patients, WRN mutant flies have shortened lifespans, high tumor incidence, lower body fat, and muscular degeneration. Both WRN and TDP1 mutants show developmental defects as well as altered locomotor activity in aged populations, suggesting that these proteins are important for normal physiology during aging. We propose that reduced ability to respond to damage caused by oxidative stress may contribute to these phenotypes. Together, we can use these data to better understand the link between DNA repair, aging, and cancer.

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