Researchers discover – and can block – protein complex that inhibits DNA repair

The cells in our body have a precise mechanism that repairs DNA damage. That damage is a constant reality, coming from the outside environment as well as our own metabolism. The problem is, the repair mechanisms can themselves be under attack. When that happens, the cells’ resistance to DNA damage is of course reduced — which in turn can lead to disease and a faster rate of aging. DNA is under continuing assault from outside forces, as well as our body’s own normal metabolism.

But now researchers have discovered a protein complex that causes that inhibition of DNA repair. At the same time, they’ve shown a way to stop it.

As reported here, researchers discovered a protein complex called DREAM. Based on testing on humans, mice and nematode cells, they determined that DREAM inhibits DNA repair, “thereby contributing to aging and disease.”

But DREAM itself can be suppressed — and the researchers did it with a pharmaceutical agent, “boosting the cells’ resilience to DNA damage, and suggesting potential new treatments for aging and cancer, although further research is needed.”

According to Dr. Bjorn Schumacher, Director of the Institute for Genome Stability in Aging and Disease at the University of Cologne’s CECAD Cluster of Excellence in Aging Research, ‘When we suppress the so-called DREAM complex in body cells, various repair mechanisms kick in, making these cells extremely resilient towards all kinds of DNA damage. Our findings for the first time allow us to improve DNA repair in body cells and to target the causes of aging and cancer development.”

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